The Move to Hoorn
After their marriage, August and Margarethe lived in Oldenburg, where their first three children were born. But by the beginning of the 1860's, after the Grand Duke Augustus died, the attention of the Duchy was directed away from the arts and towards the brewing conflicts among the German states, which were eventually to lead to the creation of the German Empire in 1871. It became clear to August that, in order to have the professional and personal life he wished to have, he should look elsewhere.
A natural choice was Franeker, in Dutch Friesland. This liberal town was known for its great organ, and for its planetarium, the first in the world. In many respects it provided a milieu similar to that which he had known in Oldenburg, in terms of both its physical and its intellectual landscape. In 1862, the Duchy of Oldenburg granted him a passport to go to Franeker for one year (see picture at right).
The family had been in Franeker only a short year when an even better opportunity arose, in Hoorn: he was offered the position of town musician, and in addition that of organist at the Groote Kerk, plus the opportunity to teach in the local schools. Interestingly, Hoorn is at the gateway of that part of the Netherlands known as West Friesland, so again the couple moved to a place similar in spirit to that from which they came.
Copyright V. Utermohlen
Updated December 29th, 2001.