Kapitein Rob en het Olie Mysterie, 1925, by QN

Pieter Joseph Kuhn, who signed with QN, received his lithographer's diploma in his hometown Amsterdam in 1929. He worked as an advertising artist with the printing firm Van Dooren in Vlaardingen during the 1930s, and from 1939 for the agency Kastelein in Hilversum from. During World War II, he illustrated a couple of questionable books, but according to himself this was to cover up for his work in the resistance.

Kapitein Rob in China
Kapitein Rob in China

It wasn't until 1945 that he started his first and only comic series, 'De Avonturen van Kapitein Rob', about a sea captain who roams the seas on his sailing ship De Vrijheid with his dog Skip. The comic ran in the Amsterdam-based newspaper Het Parool, which had just started its run as a daily paper after being a paper for the resistance during the war. Kuhn's adventurous newspaper strip was, in Pieter Kuhn's own words, "a tale for boys, based on reality, in order to enlarge their maritime, geographic, and general knowledge." Kuhn wrote the first episode, 'Adventures of the Sail Vessel Freedom', completely by himself. Not entirely satisfied with the result, he started a collaboration with Parool-journalist Evert Werkman, who edited and adapted all of Kuhn's texts from then on.

De aanslag op de

One of the reasons the strip became so popular was because it was researched so well. Whenever possible, Kuhn visited the places he was drawing. Later on the strip took a turn towards science fiction with the introduction of mad scientist Lupardi. All of the 'Kapitein Rob' adventures were first published in the Dutch newspaper Het Parool, and later the stories were compiled in albums and booklets, all with great success. Between 1952 and 1957 the comic was also published in the identical magazines Ketelbinkiekrant (published in Rotterdam) and Rob's Vrienden (published in Amsterdam).

Kapitein Rob

'Kapitein Rob' has been translated into German and French. Evert Werkman has even made a musical about Kapitein Rob in 1950, but this was never performed. Pieter Kuhn passed away from a heart attack in 1966, at the age of 55. After Kuhn's death, Gerrit Stapel made some sample comics for a restart of 'Kapitein Rob', but the heirs put a halt to the project. 'Kapitein Rob' proved inseparable from its creator, Pieter Kuhn.

'Kapitein Rob' has remained an icon in Dutch pop culture. The Dutch isle of Terschelling has been a fruitful inspiration for many 'Kapitein Rob' stories. The stories 'Het Geheim van de Bosplaat' (1947), 'De Ontdekking van Krijn Storm' (1954) and 'Het Geheim van de Westergronden' (1958) are mainly situated on the island. But Terschelling was also featured in other stories. Therefore, the character has its own monument in the dunes of the Bosplaat since 1994, and there is even a 'Kapitein Rob' trail on the island. In the "comics heroes" district of Almere, streets have been named after his characters. Besides the Kapitein Robstraat and the Professor Lupardistraat, there is also a Pieter Kuhnweg.

Pieter Kuhn

Kapitein Rob website (in dutch)

Series and books by Pieter Kuhn in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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