Queer Places:
Jaap van Leeuwenlaan, 6532 CP Nijmegen, Netherlands
Keizersgracht 10, 1015 CT Amsterdam, Netherlands

Jacob "Jaap" van Leeuwen (April 6, 1892 - May 1, 1978) was a Dutch resistance fighter during World War II. In the period 1946-1960 he was one of the main leaders of the emancipation struggle of homosexuals.

Jacob van Leeuwen was the son of Arie van Leeuwen and Annigje Costerus. Van Leeuwen was a developed man, son of wealthy parents (his father was a veterinarian). After a failed law degree in Utrecht, he became a civil servant; later he was a historical-genealogical researcher. Van Leeuwen was involved in the Nederlandsch Scientific Humanitair Comitee (NWHK), an early emancipation association for homosexuals that was founded in 1912 by Dr Jacob Schorer . He corresponded with Schorer for more than thirty years. But he wanted more: his own gay magazine, based on the example of the Swiss gay magazine Menschenrecht, and a circle of like-minded people. After half a year of preparations, together with Han Diekmann and Niek Engelschman, the first issue of the magazine appeared in March 1940 under the name 'Levensrecht' (Life Right). Van Leeuwen wrote in it under the pseudonym 'Arent van Santhorst'. When the Netherlands was occupied by the Germans two months later, the third issue of Levensrecht had just been distributed. The magazine could not be continued until after the war. The list of subscribers, some 190 names and addresses, was destroyed due to the feared danger of persecution from the German side. However, Van Leeuwen had memorized all names and addresses.

DDuring the war, Van Leeuwen became involved in the Parool group. In late 1941, the distribution department in which he participated was betrayed and arrested. After seven months of imprisonment where he did not release anything, he was released. At the time, Van Leeuwen was in hiding with the Addicks family in Amsterdam, but before his arrest he had placed all the books and documents that could have caused problems for him or others with his parents in Zeist. When he returned to the Addicks family, there appeared to have been a raid and everything in his room had been taken or destroyed.

In 1943 Van Leeuwen had to go into hiding again because the S.D. turned out to be looking for him again. Correspondence that has survived shows that he continued his resistance work. It was easy for him to assume a different identity because he had been used to living a double life as a homosexual before the war. Letters were issued to kiosk holders and kept by them as "poste restante" and he again used his earlier nom de plume as a resistance name, Arent van Santhorst.

After the war, Van Leeuwen and Engelschman, together with treasurer Jo van Dijk, were able to set up another monthly magazine, and also set up a club for homosexuals, the Shakespeare Club . Van Leeuwen was secretary, Engelschman chairman. After endless difficulties with government and police, in 1948 the name was changed to Culture and Relaxation Center (COC, this name is spelled without dots nowadays); the monthly magazine was called Friendship . Van Leeuwen wrote numerous articles for the magazine. He also founded the library of the COC and tirelessly collected books and magazines that mentioned homosexuality. In the De Schakel COC societyhe had a book stall where he offered old and new literature for sale. In his later life Van Leeuwen was lonely. The COC took a different course, and he no longer felt at home there. In 1991 an avenue was named after him in the Emancipatiebuurt in the Goffert district of Nijmegen .

After the war, Jaap van Leeuwen tried with a lot of money and effort to restore the library of the NWHK of his good friend Jacob Schorer , which was closed in 1940 . In addition, he had built up the library of the COC and a large private collection. " When I'm gone, that's all for the COC ," he said regularly. However, nothing appeared to have been arranged upon his death in 1978 . The general secretary of the COC, Rob Tielman , then managed to save the special collection on the deathbed of Van Leeuwen from the hands of the family, who did not care much about homosexuality.

These collections became the Van Leeuwen library named after him, which also housed the old book collection of the COC and the library and the documentation system of the Dialogue Foundation. The Van Leeuwen Library comprised works from the period 1870-1970 and was initially housed in the building at Keizersgracht 10, which also housed a number of libraries and documentation centers of the women's movement.

In 1988 the Van Leeuwen library was transferred to the Homodok, now IHLIA LGBT heritage . The collection of approximately 900 youth books brought together by Jaap van Leeuwen was transferred in 1989 by the Homodok to the NBLC Book & Youth, from which the collection ended up at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague in 1997 .


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