The Blussé & Van Braam bookshop is pictured in this view courtesy of the Regional Archives of Dordrecht, Netherlands, Netherlands and their website (access by clicking on link).

Even though he has been preaching and teaching Sunday school, Vincent is encouraged by his father and mother to pursue a more formal education on the order of 8 years of schooling to become a pastor or to pursue some other “normal” and honorable career.  A friend of Vincent’s father hears from his son about their desire to find Vincent a respectable job and Vincent writes to his brother of the conversation that ends up moving him to Dordrecht.

“Etten, 31 December 1876

My dear Theo,

I sincerely wish you the best in the new year, I wish you well and may you be blessed in all things. Wonderful to have seen each other again, how beautiful it was that morning you left, and how often we’ll think back on that trip to Chaam.  Ma’s eye is hurting a lot again, she has a bandage on; Pa delivered such a beautiful sermon again this morning.  And now this evening New Year’s Eve again, if only you were here.  Now then, there’s something I must tell you: a couple of days ago Mr Braat of Dordrecht paid a visit to Uncle Vincent and they spoke about me, and Uncle asked Mr B. whether he would have a place for me, if I should wish it. Mr B. thought he might have a place, and said that I should come sometime to talk about it. So I went there early yesterday morning; Pa and Ma and I, too, thought it was something we shouldn’t let pass without seeing what it was.
Agreed that after the New Year I should go to him for a week, after that we’ll see. There are many things that make it desirable, first and foremost my being back in Holland near Pa and Ma, and also you and the others. Moreover, the salary would certainly be a little better than with Mr Jones, and especially with an eye to later, when a man has need of more,  1v:2 one is obliged to think of such things. As far as the other thing is concerned, for these reasons I won’t give it up. Pa’s spirit is so great and many-sided, and at all events I hope that something of it will develop in me. The change means that now, instead of teaching those boys, I’ll be working in a bookshop.
How often we’ve longed to be together, and how terrible it is to feel so far away from one another in cases of illness or anxiety, as we felt, for example, during your illness, and then the feeling that lack of money may very well stand in the way of our being together in times of need.
It’s quite possible, then, that I’ll go there.”

To Theo. Etten, Sunday, 31 December 1876

9 January

Becomes a general assistant in the Blussé & Van Braam bookshop in Dordrecht. Lodges with the corn chandler Pieter Rijken in Tolbrugstraat A312; his fellow lodger is P. C. Görlitz (101, 102).

16 February

Visits the Dordrechts Museum with his father (FR b2507). He goes again on 25 February with Theo (103).

18 March

Vincent and Theo visit the Museum Van der Hoop in Amsterdam (108, 111).

1 April

Vincent and Theo spend Easter in Etten (FR b2519).

8-9 April

Vincent is in Zundert and Etten (110).

About 2-14 May

Is in Etten. Spends a day with Theo in The Hague, where they visit their cousin by marriage, the painter Anton Mauve (114, 137).

14 May

Moves to Amsterdam to prepare himself for his theological studies (FR b959). Is taught Latin and Greek by Maurits Mendes da Costa (120). Lives with his uncle, Jan van Gogh, director of the naval dockyard, at Grote Kattenburgerstraat 3.


Reads Fénelon’s Les aventures de Télémaque (125).


Transcribes the whole French edition of Thomas a Kempis’s De imitatione Christi and reads Bossuet’s Oraisons funèbres (129).

7 September

Visits the Trippenhuis (twice) (130).

18 September

Visits the Trippenhuis to see the etchings by Rembrandt (131).

20 September

Visits the Trippenhuis again and leaves his signature in the visitors’ book (131).


Reads Dickens’s A tale of two cities and Carlyle’s The French Revolution (132).

Early October

Theo is on a business trip and visits Vincent in Amsterdam (FR b2562).

End of December-7 January

Vincent is in Etten. Theo is also there for Christmas (138).

The Blussé & Van Braam bookshop is pictured in this view courtesy of the Regional Archives of Dordrecht, Netherlands, Netherlands and their website (access by clicking on link).