In 1943 the family moved to The Hague, the location of the German headquarters in the Netherlands during World War II. The Verhoeven house was near a German military base with V1 and V2-rocket launchers, which was repeatedly bombed by allied forces. Their neighbours’ house was hit and Verhoeven’s parents were almost killed when bombs fell on a street crossing. From this period, Verhoeven mentioned in interviews, he remembers images of violence, burning houses, dead bodies on the street and continuous danger. As a small child he experienced the war as an exciting adventure and compares himself with the character Bill Rowan in Hope and Glory (1987).
His father Wim Verhoeven became head teacher on the Van Heutszschool in The Hague and Paul Verhoeven attended this school. Sometimes they watched informative films at home with the school’s film projector. Paul Verhoeven and his father also liked to see American films, that were in the cinema after the liberation, such as The Crimson Pirate (1952). They went as many as ten times to see The War of the Worlds (1953). Paul Verhoeven was a fan of the Dutch comic Dick Bos, where the character Dick Bos is a private detective who fights crime using jujutsu. Verhoeven himself liked comic drawing and created The Killer, a grey character in a detailed story full of revenge. Other fiction he liked were Frankenstein and Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series.
He went to the public secondary school Gymnasium Haganum in The Hague. After this he studied from 1955 at the University of Leiden, where he joined the students’ corps. He graduated with a doctorandus (M.Sc.) double majoring in both mathematics and physics.
Paul Verhoeven, please come be my friend. Thanks, Tish.