Nieuwenkamp Museum Foundation

Nieuwenkamp's Edam period (1910-1920)


In 1900 Nieuwenkamp undertook the construction of his houseboat the De Zwerver, their Home on the water. For ten years he lived and worked on board this boat which, from 1905 onward, had a permanent berth in Edam. Between 1907 and 1910, Nieuwenkamp built His home on the land on the Nieuwe Haven in Edam, and in 1913 his studio. He remained in Edam until 1920. Later, in 1949, Nieuwenkamp was appointed honorary citizen of Edam.

Permanent settlement in Edam
Nieuwenkamp purchased a large piece of land in Edam and had a house built on it that he designed himself. Things kept going so well that he was able to continue enhancing and expanding their Home on the land in Edam. He added a large studio, a boathouse, a house for a gardener and a large glass greenhouse. He also bought other small houses and a canal house. Part of these houses were located across the street from his home. The story has it that he bought these houses predominantly to ensure that the open and beautiful view from his home would not be spoilt...

Various journeys
During his Edam period Nieuwenkamp undertook several long journeys. But in 1914, when World War I broke out in Europe, he decided to remain in the Netherlands and did not leave again until 1917. In early September 1917 once again Nieuwenkamp set out for the Netherlands East Indies. On board he became seriously ill and suffered from malaria, from various infections and the Spanish influenza, and in early 1919, he returned home, emaciated and weak.

Departure from Edam
The cold and wet weather in the Netherlands agreed with him less and less and affected his health. He was often sick: suffering from flu, colds or from his rheumatism. He also complained about all the bureaucracy from both the town council and the tax authorities and when, on top of it all, the people working on his restoration projects in Edam went on strike for higher wages, Nieuwenkamp had had enough and decided to leave the Netherlands. On 20 December 1920 he, his wife and their two youngest daughters departed for Italy, heading for the sunny climate. His son and eldest daughter stayed behind in the Netherlands.