A Crime in Holland
8/7/98 - I have just returned from a holiday in Holland and went to Delfzijl, but it is now much too modernised and extended to bear much resemblance to the little port in A Crime in Holland. Whilst in Holland I saw an episode of the French Maigret series (with Dutch subtitles!). It was actually based on the Delfzijl story, but the entire location had been moved to Finland, presumably because of Finnish finance for the episode. Despite this the production values and the Maigret of the French actor were excellent.
8/30/98 - When David McBrien was in Delfzijl, did he get hold of a copy of the 15-page illustrated booklet (in Dutch, of course!) about Simenon and the town published by the local tourist board? It identifies the locations from Maigret in Holland that still exist. It was published in 1990 when, apparently, the girl on whom Beetje Liewens was based was still living in the town. Her father's farm, demolished in 1959, stood where the Maigret statue now stands.
9/4/98 - Richard Thomas asks if I obtained the Simenon booklet from the tourist office in Delfzijl. I did visit the VVV office, which is located in the railway station, but I found it very difficult to obtain information about the location of the Maigret statue, which the VVV lady seemed very suprised that I wanted to see, and nothing was said about the booklet. I eventually found the statue, and the principal location of the story, alongside the Damsterdiep canal (which Simenon calls the Amsterdiep in the book). Although there is one large timber-yard in the town on the opposite side of the canal, the canal seems no longer to be used for floating logs and it is difficult to imagine being able to cross the canal by walking across the logs as Cornelius and Maigret did.
Brunel University, UK
9/14/98 - I sympathise with David McBrien and his experience at the Delfzijl VVV. For a tourist organisation they don't seem to be on the ball when it comes to publicising the town's links with a world-renowned writer. The lady on duty when I visited (several years ago) had no real idea where the Maigret statue was, and made no effort to point out the Simenon booklet that I happened to notice on the shelves before I left.
Incidentally, the booklet states that the idea of Maigret and Cornelius crossing the canal by walking on floating logs is "pure fantasy". There certainly were logs at the side of the canal in Simenon's day, but "a wide channel had to be maintained as at the time the Damsterdiep was still a shipping canal".
5/12/99 - A look on the map of the Netherlands will tell you that Delfzijl is located on the extreme North-East of that country, in the province of Groningen. The natives there are supposed to be silent, sober, unemotional, suspicious of non-locals and not at all interested in strangers, no matter how famous they may be in their country of origin or the world at large. The experiences of Richard Thomas and David McBrien are therefore not very surprising. I think that Simenon used this location precisely because of the "Northern" characteristics of the people who lived there. The relocation, for a TV-version, of the story of "A Crime in Holland" to Finland is, in the eyes of a Dutchman, not so strange as it may seem. Even the relocation of the entire province of Groningen to Finland would be regarded as not unfitting.
Peter van der Salm
5/20/99 - Not only are the natives of Delfzijl silent, sober, unemotional etc (Peter van der Salm, 12.5.99), they are also scrupulously honest. When I parked my car near the centre of town and walked off in search of the Maigret statue I accidentally left my wallet in full view on the vehicle's roof. I discovered it was missing only when ordering a beer in a cafe about ten minutes later. After sprinting madly back to the car - and thinking about the calls I would shortly be making to cancel credit cards etc - I found the wallet exactly where I had left it. Thank you, Delfzijl. I look forward with pleasure to visiting you again, especially as I now know where you have hidden the statue.
Maigret statue replica
9/11/99 - It must have been in the early seventies that a 10-inch replica was made of the famous Maigret statue in Delfzijl in the Netherlands. As a long-time collector of Maigret books, I am still looking for this small statue. It was issued with a series of Maigret books bound in leather. Does anyone have one for sale?
Maigret statue replica
11/29/99 - I have a statue, but not the books. Haven't thought of selling, but I've got to ask... how much is it worth?
Birthplace of Maigret
8/19/00 - The Maigret Forum seems to worry about the birthplace of Maigret. In the Dutch issue of "Maigret in Holland" I found a preface by the mayor of Delfzijl, Mr. P. Scholten, in which he tells us that Simenon was staying in Delfzijl some time in 1929. Delfzijl was the place where Simenon created the character of Maigret. Therefore Delfzijl should be considered as the place of birth (so to speak) of Maigret. Scholten even went as far as to sign a fake birth certificate (dated September 3rd, 1966), as a correction of the mistake of failing to register the newly-born Maigret on February 23rd, 1929. Simenon is mentioned as the father, the mother is 'unknown'. Here is a copy of the certificate from the book (click to view). What more proof does one need ;-)?
4/27/03 - Does anyone have any information/value on a mini-statue of Maigret, about 10 inches high, brass or bronze?