The Ewijkshoeve – the Witsen’s country house – is sometimes also called the “Eighties Garden”. In summer, all kinds of littérateurs and painters stayed there, among whom the poet Herman Gorter (1864-1927). In 1889, a tragic event took place there: Anna, the sister of the painter Willem Witsen, drowned herself in the pond near the homestead. On that occasion, Gorter wrote the poignant poem In den zwarten nacht, with its masterly final lines: “in die groote schipbreuk brak ook het hart / alles zonk, het laatst de hand”. He donated the manuscript to Willem Witsen, who was to preserve it with great care.
In 1945, in view of anxious experiences during World War II, the Willem Witsenhuis Foundation decided that a safe shelter had to be found for its impressive correspondence archives. That is how the manuscript on view ended up in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek.