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Maigret in Delfzijl
near Groningen, Netherlands

the setting for

George Simenon's

Maigret in Holland

Un crime en Hollande

"where Maigret was born..."

Joe Richards

August 4, 2006


see also The Maigret Statue at Delfzijl

(click on images to enlarge)

1. The train station where Maigret arrived. It's probably the only thing that Simenon would recognize today. The city tourist office is also located here, where you can buy a booklet [in Dutch] with a walking tour of Maigret sites and a town map for 2€.

2. Across the street from the station is a small marker in the form of a book that has some information in Dutch.

3. Close-ups of the pages of the marker. (Click to enlarge). The left page is a quotation from the opening of the book. The right page:
In September 1929 the French writer Georges Simenon lived here while his boat, the Ostrogoth, was being repaired. During his time here he gathered the setting, locations, and people for what later became Maigret in Holland. In 1966 the Dutch publisher Bruna comissioned a statue of Maigret to be located in Delfzijl. It was to be located on the Damsterdiep, at one of the places mentioned in the story. This panel also contains a map with directions to the statue.

4. A lumber yard on the Damsterdiep, mentioned in the story. No sign of the old training ship.

5. This little Maigret sign is the only indication of the statue that I saw in town, and it's only about 100 meters from the statue. I doubt that I would have found it without the guidebook from the tourist office.

6. The statue is not in the center of town. It is beside the Damsterdiep, nearly a mile away. I suspect this location was chosen for the statue because it was along the so-named canal that was mentioned in the story several times. The brochure points out that this was where the Liewens farm was located.

7. The marker by the statue.

Georges Simenon en Maigret in Delfzijl

"Een klein stadje, tien of hoogstens twaalf straten, geplaveid met mooie rode klinkers, zo regelmatig als de tegels in een keuken, lage huizen van baksteen met veel licht en vrolijk gekleurd houtwerk."


Beeldhouwer: Pieter d' Hont

Zo karakteriseert commissaris Maigret het Delfzijl van omstreeks 1930 in het boek "Un Crime En Hollande" van Georges Simenon.

De figuur van de beroemde commissaris Maigret werd door Simenon bedacht tijdens zijn berblijf in Delfzijl.

Ter nagedachtenis van dit feit en ter gelegenheid van de duizendsie "Swarte Beertjes" uitgave werd dit Maigret-standbeeld door Uitg. A. W. Bruna aangeboden aan de gemeente Delfzijl.

Het werd op 3 september 1966 door Georges Simenon zelf onthuld.

George Simenon
Luik 1903 - Lausanne 1989

"A little town, 10 or at most 12 streets paved with beautiful red tiles as evenly spaced as the tiles in a kitchen floor. Low houses of light stone with nicely polished woodwork."

This is how Maigret charachterized Delfzijl around 1930 in the book "Un Crime en Hollande" by Georges Simenon. The figure of Comissaire Maigret was, through Simenon, temporarily living in Delfzijl. In memory of Simenon's stay in Delfzijl and the one thousandth title in the popular [in Holland] series of paperbacks called Swarte Beertjes [or Little Black Bears after their symbol of a small black bear on each book], the publishing house of A. W. Bruna offered this bronze statue of Maigret to the city. It was on 3 September 1966 that Simenon himself unveiled the statue.

8. [Dutch text of the plaque and translation]. The statue was designed and made by the Dutch sculptor Pieter D'Hont. Also present for the unveiling were Rupert Davies, Heinz Ruhmann, Gino Cervi, and Jan Teuling. All of them had played Maigret on TV. (see The Maigret Statue)

9-12 Views of the statue

9.

10.

11.

12.

13. A drawbridge over the Damsterdiep. This view was taken just a few steps from the statue. What is now a leafy suburb was until 1959 the Liewens farm that is mentioned in the book. I've heard that Beetje Liewens was based on a real resident of Delfzijl in 1929 and that woman was alive at least until 1990.

14. A view from the same side of the same bridge shown in photo 13. Here we are looking away from the town and the sea. The statue and the site of the Liewens farm are on the right side but too close to be seen in this picture.

15. Some boats along the Eemskanal.

16. A seagoing ship in the port. (It was mentioned in the story that seagoing ships came to town.)

17. Sailboat on the seafront.

18. Germany in the background, a large ship on the Ems.

19. Another view with Germany in the background.


Maps showing the location of Delfzijl

Delfzijl, Netherlands, near Groningen


Other Maigret photo-visits by Joe Richards

In Maigret's footsteps in Montmartre
A Maigret Bus Ride
A Walking Tour of Simenon's Liege



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