Hoogeveen, Tuesday evening.

My dear Theo,
I’ve just arrived here.
I saw some beautiful bits of the Veluwe region1 from the train, but by the time we reached these parts everything was dark,2 so I don’t know what it’s like yet.
Anyway, am sitting in a large taproom like the ones in Brabant, where a woman is sitting peeling potatoes, quite an interesting little figure.
I’ve been talking to people here, and in a day or two I’ll take the barge and travel all the way down the Hoogeveense Vaart through the peat bogs, right across the south-east corner of Drenthe.
Then, northwards from here it seems that there’s magnificent heathland all the way to Assen.
I’m certainly curious, as you can imagine.
Everything went well in The Hague. That surveyor3 came to the station to see me.
The woman and her children were with me until the last minute, of course, and the parting wasn’t very easy when I left. I’ve provided for her as best I could, but she’ll have a difficult time.
I’ve brought very little paint with me, but some anyway, and I hope to be able to get more soon. I found the colour of the Veluwe rich.  1v:2
I hope to await your next letter here, this is a country lodging-house near the station.
Address the letter care of A. Hartsuiker, lodging-house keeper at Hoogeveen.4
After that, though, I may go deeper into the countryside, but I’ll wait until I have a little stock of paint.
Well, more soon; at the moment I haven’t seen anything apart from what I’ve told you, the fields out of the train window and the taproom here, which is nothing out of the ordinary.
In any case I wanted to let you know that I’m here. Regards, I’ll set out tomorrow.
With a handshake.

Ever yours,

As soon as you receive this be so good as to pop a postcard or something in the post to see if it arrives all right. Got up early this morning because I was really curious. The weather was marvellous, the air is clear and sparkling, like it is in Brabant.  1v:3
At the lodgings here I saw a barn that’s laid out differently from the ones in Brabant. I may make something of it later, if I stay here, at least.
Well, the fields around here are mostly meadowland, with small trees here and there.
I think I’ve done well in making Hoogeveen my base.
At least it’s nice that I heard on the very first evening that I can go by barge right through the whole peat district as far as the Prussian border and the Zwarte Meer.5
I’ll write soon to tell you a lot more about it than today.
I’ll set out on this journey as soon as I have some more paint, and will go from one hamlet or village to another.
However this remains the address, and I’m leaving my things here for the time being, even if I’m away for some time and don’t know myself exactly where I’ll be. I’ve agreed to pay 1 guilder a day here, while I’m here, that is, and between times I can leave my suitcase &c. in the attic.  1r:4
In the village harbour I saw really authentic peat barges and the figures of bargemen. Women wearing the local costume in the hayfield — fine. It will probably be even more beautiful deeper into the countryside, but meanwhile I’m already seeing very good things — even here.
So write a few words soon. As I said, to the address

  A. Hartsuiker
  lodging-house keeper at Hoogeveen

The village or town here is mainly one long row of houses by the harbour, many new houses and a few more beautiful old ones.


Br. 1990: 388 | CL: 323
From: Vincent van Gogh
To: Theo van Gogh
Date: Hoogeveen, Tuesday, 11 and Wednesday, 12 September 1883

1. The Veluwe is a wooded area in the middle of the Netherlands.
2. Since it was already dark when Van Gogh arrived he must have travelled on the last train, which arrived in Hoogeveen at 21.00. Working backwards according to the Reiswijzer (Timetable) for September 1883, he left The Hague by the 14.05 train at the latest. See Dijk and Van der Sluis 2001, p. 81.
3. Antoine Philippe Furnée, to whom Van Gogh had given lessons.
4. Albertus Hartsuiker was a lodging-keeper and railway official. The exact address of his lodging-house is not known, but the most likely candidate is the house at Grote Kerksteeg 51 (district A) – later Grote Kerkstraat 51 – where there was a shop, a baker’s and a house with lodgings. It has, however, also been suggested that it was Toldijk 446 (district B) (now Pesserstraat 24). See GAHo, Civil registration; Dijk and Van der Sluis 2001, pp. 83-103.
5. The Zwarte Meer is close to the German (‘Prussian’) border, about 40 km to the east of Hoogeveen.