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Hoogeveen, Tuesday evening
I have just arrived here.
From the train I saw some beautiful bits of the Veluwe, but
everything was dark by the time we arrived in these parts. So I
do not know much about it yet. I am sitting in a large
inn-parlour, like those in Brabant, where a woman is sitting
peeling potatoes, rather a pretty little figure.
I have been talking to the people here, and one of these
days I shall go by barge down the whole Hoogeveen canal,
through the peat fields, straight across the southeastern
corner of Drenthe.
From here to the north there seems to be a beautiful heath
right up to Assen. You can imagine I am rather curious to see
Everything came off well at The Hague. That land surveyor [Furnée]
came to say goodbye at the station.
Of course the woman and her children were with me to the
last, and when I left, the parting was not very easy.
I have provided her with all kinds of things as well as I
could, but she will have a hard time.
I have taken only a very few colours with me, but
nevertheless some, and I hope to begin the attack soon. The
colour of the Veluwe was rich.
I shall wait here for your next letter. I am staying at a
village inn quite near the station.
The address is: A. Hartsuiker, Innkeeper, Hoogeveen.
Later I may go farther into the heart of the country, but I
must wait till I have some stock of colours.
I shall write more soon; for the moment I've seen nothing
but what I tell you, the scene through the carriage window and
the barroom here, which is nothing special.
I only want to tell you I am here.
Goodbye, tomorrow I am going out investigating. A
Yours sincerely, Vincent
When you receive this, be so kind as to mail a postcard at
once to see whether it reaches me all right. I got up very
early this morning because I was rather curious. The weather is
splendid, the air is clear and bracing, as in Brabant. Here at
the inn I saw a stable fitted up differently from those in
Brabant. Perhaps I shall make something of it someday, at least
if I stay here.
Well, the country around here is for the greater part
meadowland, with little trees here and there. I think I did well
to choose Hoogeveen as my starting point. At least it is rather
curious that I already heard, on the very first evening, how I
can travel through the whole peat district, as far as the
Prussian frontier and the Black Lake on the barges. I shall
soon write you more about it than I can today. As soon as I
have more colours, I shall begin that excursion and will go
from one village to another.
But my address will still be here, and I shall leave my
things here even if I am absent for some time and do not know
exactly where I shall be.
I have arranged to pay a guilder a day while I'm here, and I
can leave my trunk, etc., in the garret while I'm away. In the
village harbour I saw very quaint peat barges, and figures of
bargemen's wives dressed as they are here in the hayfield -
Further into the country it will be even more beautiful; but
for the present I see very good things even here.
So drop me a line soon at the address: A. Hartsuiker,
Innkeeper at Hoogeveen.
The village, or little town, is just a long row of houses
along the harbour, many new houses and a few more beautiful old
At this time, Vincent was 30 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 11 and 12 September 1883 in Drenthe. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 323.
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