BURIED TOGETHER

Partner Huub Janssen, Friso Wiegersma

Queer Places:
Singel 86, 1015 AD Amsterdam, Netherlands
Westermarkt 9, 1016 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Prinsengracht 826, 1017 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Roman-Catholic Cemetery Buitenveldert, Fred. Roeskestraat 103, 1076 EE Amsterdam, Netherlands

Willem "Wim" Sonneveld (28 June 1917 – 8 March 1974) was a Dutch cabaret artist and singer. Together with Toon Hermans and Wim Kan, he is considered to be one of the 'Great Three' of Dutch cabaret. Sonneveld is generally viewed as a Dutch cultural icon for his work and legacy in theatre, musicals and music. Even though Wim Sonneveld never publicly stated that he was homosexual, he shared his life only with men, first with Hubert "Huub" Janssen, later with prop designer, text writer and painter Friso Wiegersma whom he met in 1947 and who created the character Nikkelen Nelis (Nickle Nelis) for him, a character, made from the well-known street singer from Rotterdam, named Koperen Ko (Copper Ko).

Wim Sonneveld was born in Utrecht, Netherlands, to Gerrit Sonneveld and Geertruida van den Berg. In 1922, at a very young age, he lost his mother. After his time at school, where he was the class clown, he had a few unsuccessful jobs. In 1932 he started singing in an amateur choir, the Keep Smiling Singers, after which he teamed up with Fons Goossens in 1934 to form a duo and perform at anniversaries of associations and institutions. Later that year he met reviewer Huub Janssen and after a journey through France in 1936 they started living together in Amsterdam, at first on the Westermarkt, later on the Prinsengracht. In that same year he worked for Louis Davids. During the day he worked as an administrator and in evening he played small roles and sang chansons. In that same period he performed with his partner Huub in his own club De Rarekiek. In 1937 he sang in 'cabarets' (floor shows in nightclubs) with Suzy Solidor and Agnes Capri in France. After the declaration of war of 1940 he returned to the Netherlands, where he acted in plays and in the revue of Loekie Bouwmeester. In 1940 he performed in the Theater der Prominenten and at Abraham van der Vies' De Sprookjesspelers. Here he met Conny Stuart. In 1943 he formed his own association, consisting among others of Conny Stuart, Lia Dorana, Albert Mol, Joop Doderer, Hetty Blok and Emmy Arbous. Wim Sonneveld was gay, though not openly as it would have been unacceptable during that era. He died in 1974 due to a heart attack.


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