Flippie Flink, by Louis RaemaekersFlippie Flink by Louis Raemakers

Louis Raemaekers was a Dutch cartoonist and caricaturist, known for his sharp cartoons during World War I. Raemaekers was born in Roermond, The Netherlands in 1869. His father was a critical Catholic, who published the liberal daily De Volksvriend in Roermond in the province Limburg. Louis eventually left Limburg and worked from Haarlem, but also from England and Belgium. In the years 1906-1909, he drew weekly illustrations for Algemeen Handelsblad, and he illustrated several children's books until 1914. He worked for De Telegraaf from 1909 until well into the 1930s.

Cartoon by Louis Raemaekers
"Kreuzland, Kreuzland, über Alles!" (De Telegraaf, 8 October 1914)

During the First World War, he stood out for his anti-German political cartoons, published in De Telegraaf, and in Britain in The Daily Mail. These cartoons were feared in the neutral Netherlands - Telegraaf editor-in-chief Kick Schröder was regularly admonished by the state - but earned international praise, among others from the presidents of France and the United States. He was also hired by William Randolph Hearst in the US, and his drawings were used as so-called stiffeners in cigarette packs, that came back to Europe with the US soldiers. In England, poet William Dowsing made a book of war cartoon sonnets based on Raemaekers' work, and his work was adapted to "tableaux vivants" by the British nobility. Former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt said in 1917: "The cartoons of Louis Raemaekers constitute the most powerful of the honourable contributions made by neutrals to the cause of civilisation in the World War. (...) His pictures should be studied everywhere." 

Gezondheid is de Grootste Schat, by Louis RaemaekersRaemakers illustrations for a book about tuberculosis in 1927
Illustrations for a book about tuberculosis in 1927
('Gezondheid is de Grootste Schat')

The University of Glasgow granted him an honorary doctorate for his work during the war in 1924. He later went to work in Brussels, where he promoted the unity of Europe in many sketches and drawings. By the end of 1933, Raemaekers started drawing the daily one-panel text comic 'Flippie Flink' in De Telegraaf, based on rhymes by Clinge Doorenbos. 1414 episodes were published between 4 November 1933 and 25 June 1938, but from October 1934, much of the artwork was handled by Raemaekers' son, Robert Louis Raemaekers Jr. Within two years, this comic had become so popular it was made into a musical for children. Raemaekers fled to the United States shortly before the start of the Second World War and remained there until 1946, when he returned to Brussels. He returned to the Netherlands in 1953, where he passed away in Scheveningen in 1956.

An extensive retrospective called 'Louis Raemaekers - Met pen en potlood als wapen' by Ariane de Ranitz was published in 2014, the year of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I.  

Louis Raemaekers
Louis Raemaekers in 1914

More about the 'Flippie Flink' play in De Nederlandse Stripgeschiedenis (in dutch)

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