Willemina Jacoba van Gogh (1862 - 1941)

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Nicknames: "Wil", "Willemien"
Birthplace: Zundert, Zundert, North Brabant, The Netherlands
Death: Died in Ermelo, Ermelo, Gelderland, The Netherlands
Managed by: Liz B.
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About Willemina Jacoba van Gogh

Willemina Jacoba van Gogh, called Wil, was the youngest sister of the artist Vincent van Gogh and the art dealer Theo van Gogh. She was amongst the earliest feminists.

During the first part of her life Wil van Gogh served her family and others, nursing the sick. After the death of her brothers in 1890, she obtained a modest job in a hospital. There she engaged in the committee to organise the "National exhibition of women's work" (Nationale Tentoonstelling van Vrouwenarbeid), 1898. This was a highly successful enterprise and funds raised from the exhibition, 20,000 Dutch Guilders, served to establish the Dutch National bureau for women's work.

No sources record what happened afterwards, but on 4 December 1902 Wil van Gogh was interned and later transferred to House Veldwijk, a psychiatric institution at Ermelo. The diagnosis of dementia praecox, on which this measure was based, was in those days equivalent to a death sentence. Wil van Gogh dwelt at Ermelo for almost four decades before she died.

Whether she was mentally ill or not is nowadays difficult to prove. Renate Berger has established that Wil van Gogh shared the fate of many "sisters of well-known men" at the time.

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Wil van Gogh's Timeline

Zundert, Zundert, North Brabant, The Netherlands
Age 79
Ermelo, Ermelo, Gelderland, The Netherlands