All Thoughts Are Prey to Some Beast

centers around the Dutch writer Frederik van Eeden’s anarchistic colony Walden in Bussum, the Netherlands. Van Eeden (1860 – 1932) was a physician, author, and poet. He had a vast array of interests like psychiatry and psychical research and he travelled extensively. In 1893 van Eeden bought a piece of land and established a commune which took its inspiration from Henry David Thoreau’s book Walden; or, Life in the Woods, published in 1854. Walden details Thoreau’s experiences over the course of two years in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, amidst woodland near Concord, Massachusetts. Van Eeden’s Walden was one of several communes that were set up in the area: these communes had in common that communal living and other modes of production were tested. The commune attracted a very mixed group of inhabitants, from workers who were searching for ways to survive to doctors and psychiatrists who were interested in experiencing a more simple way of living. Even though Walden functioned well for a while and was even imitated as far afield as North America the commune was fated to come to an end as early as 1907. Nevertheless did Walden provide the common ground for much of the ideas that were established in the early forms of socialism in the Netherlands.