Jan van de Venis

Professional background

“The human species is part of an immense, evolving universe. Earth, our home, is alive and encompasses a unique community of life. Natural forces make existence a demanding and uncertain adventure, but Earth has provided the conditions essential for the evolution of life. The resilience of the community of life and the well-being of humanity depend on maintaining a healthy biosphere with all its ecological systems, a rich variety of plants and animals, fertile soil, unpolluted water, and clean air. The global environment, with its finite resources, is a common concern of all peoples. The protection of Earth’s vitality, diversity, and beauty is a sacred duty.” (From: Earth Charter Preamble)

The Earth Charter’s ideology is the sole foundation of my poetry. As a poet, I aim to express the inseparable connection of all living things, especially giving voice to the life force. I want to delve into the soul of the land where I was born and connect it with other places. In my poetry, the struggles of life and the elements must take center stage. My verses should also reflect the urgency conveyed by the Earth Charter. For this reason, I wish to align myself with the Earth Charter as a poet.

As a boy, I could walk into the meadows on all sides of my birthplace, Akkrum, surrounded by wading birds. Now, within a single generation, about 40 years later, there is only one place near the village where wading birds exist, on the herb-rich land of some organic and biodynamic farmers who do their best to preserve the wading birds with all their might. A vulnerable oasis in an otherwise industrial wasteland, which continues to shrink every year solely to serve destructive agriculture, with all its consequences for health, biodiversity, and the quality of my life. All other sides of the village are deserted and eerily silent in spring.

I strongly believe that everything is interconnected, and built from the same matter. The desolation of the world around us deeply disturbs us. That’s why I like to touch everything, smell the flowers, feel the leaves, and can’t resist placing my hand on the trunk of a tree. Humanity and everything around it are increasingly alienated from each other. We act as if humans themselves are not part of nature. That distresses me, and that’s what my poetry is about. My writing is a necessity for survival. This is also the theme of my (international) projects and collaborations that I have initiated in recent years. For more information, visit my Facebook page or https://romkekleefstra.blogspot.com/.

With my writing, I want to reach people and create a bit of awareness. I know that I am part of a lineage that spans all times, but with my way of presentation and the content of my work, I really want to bring back some of the wonders for the life around us that we have lost so much. The wonder we had as children when the world suddenly hid under a layer of snow in the morning or when, in a full storm, the geese flew over the village at night while you were safely in bed, heading to their sleeping place.

In addition to my work as a poet, my daily paid work involves advising and supporting municipalities in the field of the physical environment in developing visions and plans. Almost my entire career, I have also worked for the Wadden Islands. In recent years, mainly for the municipality of Vlieland. In my daily work, the ideology of the Earth Charter is also closely connected with everything.

Personal Motto

Respect and connectedness with all life