Nel Benschop

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Nelly Anna "Nel" Benschop (16 January 1918 – 31 January 2005) was a Dutch poet. She was the best selling poet in the Netherlands.

Early years

Benschop was born in The Hague and grew up in a strictly religious Dutch Reformed family. She followed the Mulo (advanced elementary education) and after that the kweekschool (teacher training college), graduating in 1937. She took recitation lessons from Lily van Haghe. During the Second World War, she also received diplomas for English and French.

After the war, she left her parents' house and became teacher at a girls' boarding school in Driebergen. After that, she worked as a teacher of Dutch and French at a Mulo in Arnhem and a lyceum (grammar school) in Veenendaal. She retired in 1981.


Benschop started writing poetry in 1948. In the meantime she recited poems of others, with sometimes a few of her own added. She debuted in 1967 by Kok Publishers in Kampen with the volume Gouddraad uit vlas ("Gold thread from flax"). The publisher almost didn't dare to bring it out, but the volume was an enormous success, Benschop also wrote aphorisms. Several of her poems are often quoted in death notices, especially In memoriam voor een vriend ("In memoriam for a friend").

Her work is deeply...
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