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van Schoonheten, A.B. de Wit, A. (2017). Letter from the Netherlands. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 98(1):15-20.

(2017). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 98(1):15-20

Letter from the Netherlands

Anna Bentinck van Schoonheten and Annemarie de Wit

Early History

On 24 March 1917, now 100 years ago, the Dutch Society for Psychoanalysis was established. It was a bright spot in dark times, in the midst of the First World War, in which the Netherlands had kept a neutral position.

The psychoanalytic movement, that had been so active before July 1914, had largely come to a halt. Freud was in Vienna in a cold house, with too little to eat, and in the evenings hardly any light to enable working. He had three sons in the army, which worried him very much, and almost all of his adherents were also in the army. Freud himself was too old for active service but Abraham served as a doctor at the eastern front under harsh conditions, which would eventually cause him permanent health problems. Rank was also in the army, as was Ferenczi and Eitingon.

Abraham was delighted about the psychoanalytic developments taking place at this time in the Netherlands. They came just at a moment where he himself had become more and more depressed by the hardships of the war. Freud on the other hand was waiting to see how things would settle down, considering the situation in the Netherlands was quite complicated. Just as in England the Jungians were heavily represented amongst the Dutch analysts.

Actually, it was a miracle that the establishment of a psychoanalytic Freudian society came. In 1914, after years of tensions, a complete breach between Freud and Jung had resulted. Jung's doctrine was considered unacceptable by the Freudians because he denied the determining influence of early childhood sexuality.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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