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Leeuw, Pieter Jakob van der (1909-1985)


Pieter Jakob van der Leeuw, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, was born in Zutphen, the Netherlands on July 9, 1909, and died in Amsterdam on November 20, 1985.

He was the first child of a family of five children and grew up in difficult circumstances since his father, an engineer, died when he was 12 and his mother had to run the family alone. He studied medicine in Utrecht and chose his specialization as a psychiatrist in the same town.

His psychoanalytic training took place in Amsterdam during World War II, with Jeanne Lampl-de Groot as his training analyst. He was chairman of the Dutch Society and of the Training Committee, and one of the founders of the Psychoanalytic Institute in Amsterdam in 1946. Internationally he made an effort after World War II to re-establish contacts between analysts in different countries. He was one of the initiators of the Arbeitstagung (Working Group) and of the European Psychoanalytical Federation of which he was vice-president for some years before being elected president of the International Psychoanalytical Association (1965-1969). Besides that he was co-founder of the Sigmund Freud Museum, Berggasse 19, in Vienna (1969). He achieved honorary membership in the Societies of Venezuela (1970), Vienna (1972), and the Netherlands (1979).

Van der Leeuw was a great scholar of Freud's writings. The development of theories by Freud had his special interest. In his publications he explained what he thought Freud meant by his concept of metapsychology, and emphasized the importance of the quantitative point of view (1969). He felt very much involved, through his four-year experience as IPA president, in the sources of the conflicts between the component Societies (1968). In his article about the Freud-Jung correspondence (1977), he explains in more detail the basic problems for followers of Freud.

Van der Leeuw made contributions of his own to the clinic of psychoanalysis in his publication about the preoedipal phase of the male (1958) and the concept of defense (1971).

Van der Leeuw is remembered by his colleagues as an erudite and earnest person, self-disciplined in his profession and very much dedicated to the cause of psychoanalysis.

Elisabeth Verhage-Stins

See also: International Psychoanalytical Association; Netherlands.


Leeuw, Pieter Jakob van der. (1958). On the preœdipal phase of the male. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 39, 112-115.

. (1968). The psychoanalytic society. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 49, 160-164.

. (1969). Concernant le concept de défense. Revue française de psychanalyse, 33, 5-23.

. (1971). On the development of the concept of defence. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis. 52,51-58.

. (1977). L'impact de la correspondance Freud-Jung sur l'histoire des idées. Revue française de psychanalyse, 41, 439-463.

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