Honorary doctor Henk Hofland has died
Journalist, columnist and writer H.J.A. (Henk) Hofland has passed away at the age of 88. He was affiliated with the NRC Handelsblad, and the newspaper’s predecessors, his entire life. In 2001 Hofland received an honorary doctorate from Maastricht University, presented by his honorary supervisor Dr Wiel Kusters, professor of General and Dutch Literature. This title was bestowed by the University in recognition of Hofland’s complete oeuvre.
On 1 May 1953, Henk Hofland began his journalistic career as a foreign desk editor. He was editor-in-chief of the Algemeen Handelsblad until its merger with the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant in 1970. In that year, the two newspapers joined to form the NRC Handelsblad. Hofland subsequently worked as a columnist, political pundit, essayist and novelist. Among his best-known works is the 1971 book of essays Tegels lichten (‘Lifting tiles’), about political affairs and cover-ups in the Netherlands.
Hofland grew up in Rotterdam and experienced the bombing of the city by the Nazis in 1940 first-hand. He would refer frequently to this profoundly affecting event in his later journalistic work. Hofland was a regular participant in the VPRO radio talk show Welingelichte kringen.
In 2001, on the occasion of its 25th anniversary, the UM awarded Hofland with an honorary doctorate. The University recognised Hofland as an intellectual and writer who embodied ‘the ideal of clear, critical reflection on society, science and art in exemplary fashion’.