Former youth pastor, television producer and children’s book writer Karel Eykman passed away on Tuesday. Many people in their fifties have grown up with his work, sometimes without knowing it. He is the creator of lyrics for television shows like Uncle Willem’s movie, sesame street and Blame your parents again and he continued to contribute to The core.
Karel Eduard Eykman (1936) was born in Rotterdam as the son of a general practitioner in a family full of pastors. Although he already had the ambition to become a writer at the gymnasium, he still went to study theology in Utrecht. He then works for a few years as a reformed youth minister. He learns from the weekly sermon that he does not like to recite, but to write.
He becomes famous with his children’s bible Word by word, which is read in weekly episodes on IKON television in the 1970s by his colleague and lifelong friend Aart Staartjes. His debut will be released to the general public soon after: The terribly shy scarecrow (1974), winning a Silver Granger.
This story typifies him. The farmer is dissatisfied with his scarecrow, who mutters and asks the birds to keep their hands off the harvest without any success. When the farmer wants to throw him away, the birds take pity and take him to the forest, where he will henceforth be a scarecrow.
Although Eykman breaks with the church, which accuses him of a very loose interpretation of the Bible, he remains a lifelong youth pastor. From now on, he makes comparisons between how the world works and how it should work, he now eloquently does in his stories, plays, television scripts, song texts and poems, in which he stands up for children, who, according to him, are also ‘oppressed and manipulated in the Netherlands’. ‘ become.
He works in the high-profile Writers’ Collective, which wrote for television, together with inspired song artists such as Willem Wilmink and Hans Dorrestijn, who, like him, show that fantasy, social criticism, encourage children, humor and beautiful Dutch do not have to be mutually exclusive. to close. On the contrary. There is nothing wrong with a fantasy story, but ‘there must exist fairy tales that contain dynamite and no sugar,’ he says in an interview.
In addition to his work for television, about thirty children’s books with stories and poems are published, such as Love sickness (1983, Golden Granger), Hansel and Gretel in Jimmie Jammie Bobbyland (2001) and Without love you are nowhere (2003). Eykman’s health has slowly deteriorated in recent years, but he has remained active into old age. Last year is still François Villon, poet, crook and vagabond was published, with illustrations by Sylvia Weve, who has illustrated a large part of his children’s books.