'De avonturen van Tijs Loerendraaier en Dikkie Duik'.

Nettie van Wijland was a Dutch illustrator, who often worked together with her husband, graphic designer Gerard van Stoutenburg. Among the pair's joint productions was an obscure World War II-related comics serial for the Catholic workers' youth movement, 'De Avonturen van Tijs Loerendraaier en Dikkie Duik' (1946-1947).

Early life
Deliana Constantia Margaretha Jeannette van Wijland was born in 1911 in Hilversum. As a child, she was already talented in both playing the piano and drawing. After high school, she studied at the School of Applied Arts ("Kunstnijverheidsschool") in Amsterdam, where she met her future husband, Gerard van Stoutenburg (1907-1994). Prior to their marriage in 1942, however, Van Wijland had a romantic relationship with novelist Godfried Bomans. To be able to marry Van Stoutenburg, Nettie had to convert to the Catholic faith. Gerard van Stoutenburg's parents owned a farm in Eemnes, which was frequently visited during the Hunger Winter of 1944 by people in search for food. Van Wijland made a collage painting of her in-laws' war experiences under the title 'Oorlogsbelevenissen'.

LUMAX
Her husband Gerard worked as a graphic artist for the Catholic printing company LUMAX, and regularly provided his wife with illustration assignments. These varied from devotional pictures and birth announcement cards to illustrations for the LUMAX magazines and an occasional comic strip. One of the pair's comic stories appeared in Lumax' 30th anniversary memorial book, 'Van Vonk tot Vlam' (1947). It chronicled the way the firm muddled its way through World War II, by symbolizing it as a flame called 'Vlammetje'.


'Vlammetje' (from the memorial book 'Van Vonk tot Vlam', 1947).

Tijs Loerendraaier en Dikkie Duik
Among the magazines that were printed by LUMAX was Herstel, the weekly of the Dutch Catholic Workers' Movement. Between 24 January 1946 and 22 May 1947, the magazine serialized the comic strip 'De Avonturen van Tijs Loerendraaier en Dikkie Duik' in 21 episodes (because of paper shortage, the magazine couldn't appear on a weekly base). Nettie van Wijland made the drawings for this text comic strip, and her husband (most likely) wrote the text captions. The story told the adventures of two members of the Catholic Worker's Youth ("kajotters") during the invasion of their homeland, Vrijland ("Freeland"), by a neighboring country, called Drildroezen. The two lads decide to sail to the island where their government resides in exile, hoping to help free their country. Their adventures were an allegory of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, during which so-called "Engelandvaarders" ("England sailers") crossed the North Sea to join the Allied forces in England.

Final years and death
Nettie van Wijland passed away in 1985 in Utrecht, at the age of 73. According to an article published in the Dutch comics information magazine Stripschrift (December 2020), her children remembered that she remained active in drawing until her death. 

Legacy and rediscovery
After the Netherlands were liberated from the Nazis in 1944-1945, several World War II-related comic stories were released in the country. Among the titles were, for instance, Ton van Tast's 'De Daverende Dingen Dezer Dagen' and John C. Kennis' 'De Sprinkergermanenplaag'. For more than 70 years, Nettie van Wijland's comic remained under the radar, until historian Kees Ribbens uncovered it in 2020 and had it published in its entirety in the 464th issue of comics news magazine Stripschrift (December 2020).


'De Avonturen van Tijs Loerendraaier en Dikkie Duik'.

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