Dutch literary giant Simon Vinkenoog has died of a cerebral haemorrhage at the age of 80. Vinkenoog was a writer, poet, activist, lifelong hippy and cannabis connoisseur par excellence.
Throughout his long career, Vinkenoog published many books, essays and collections of poetry, attaining the status of Dutch poet laureate in 2004. In Holland, he was often compared to American beat poets such as Allen Ginsberg en William Burroughs due to the spiritual, mind-expanding nature of his work.
Although slightly built he was, in every other respect, truly larger than life. His countless performances and personal appearances did much to generate interest in Dutch literature and poetry. He also took part in many ‘happenings’ and collaborations with Dutch musicians in an attempt to broaden the scope of his work.
He never seemed to go out of style and was regularly rediscovered by new generations of poets and performance artists. He was also a popular figure on Dutch TV taking part in many panel shows and discussion programmes.
His enthusiasm for psychedelic drugs and lifelong advocacy of cannabis legalisation led him to be described as ‘hippiedom personified’ – as late as 2004 he took part in a campaign to distribute cannabis seeds across Holland by means of toy balloons! He also found time to marry no less than six times.
Simon Vinkenoog died on On 12 July 2009 and was buried on July 18 2009 (his 81st birthday) at the Sint Barbara cemetery in Amsterdam-West. He is survived by his sixth wife Edith Ringnalda.