Who was Nanne Ottema?

Ottema was born on 4 May 1874, the son of Allert Ottema, notary, and Maria Franciska Felinga. Nanne Ottema followed in his father’s footsteps, first, from 1900 to 1918, as a junior notary in his office and from 1918 to 1949 as his successor. In 1900 he married Grietje Kingma (1873-1950), they were to remain childless.

Nanne OttemaGrietje Kingma

When still young, Ottema developed a great interest in cultural heritage in any form. He was, however, especially interested in the Frisian cultural heritage and Asian ceramics. This interest manifested itself in various ways: during his whole life he fanatically collected a wide range of objects, his own estimates varying from 26,000 to 30,000 pieces, and he also published a lot about cultural heritage-related subjects, ranging from short newspaper articles to his handbook about collecting Chinese ceramics. A selective bibliography of Ottema’s publications can be viewed here.

Nanne Ottema gave many objects on loan to the Fries Museum and in 1917 he founded ceramics museum Princessehof, his own collection of ceramics forming the basis of its collection.

Interior of the Princessehof in the 1950s

Furthermore, he built up a very extensive library of high quality (over 20,000 titles), which he called the Princessehof Library. Tresoar received in 2012 this library, and a few titles went to the Frisian Maritime Museum (Fries Scheepvaart Museum) in Sneek.

After Ottema’s death in 1955 his collections and his estate came into the possession of the Ottema-Kingma Foundation, which was to carry on his life’s work.

For further reading:

  • Kalma, J.J., Nanne Ottema; Aartsverzamelaar en museumbouwer , Leeuwarden 1957
  • Roding, M., In de voetsporen van Nanne Ottema. Veertig jaar cultuurbehoud door de Ottema-Kingma Stichting , Leeuwarden 1995
  • Veen, H.T., Nanne Ottema : een kleurrijk verzamelaar , Franeker 1999
  • Halbertsma, H., Herinneringen aan Nanne Ottema, in De Vrije Fries 80 (Leeuwarden, 2000) blz 125-141
  • Hoeve, S. ten, Nanne Ottema’s betekenis voor Friesland , in: De Vrije Fries 82 (Leeuwarden, 2002), blz. 204-211
  • Hoeve, S. ten, Nanne Ottema (1874-1955) en het Fries Scheepvaart Museum , in: Jaarverslag van het Fries Scheepvaart Museum en Oudheidkamer 2004 (Sneek, 2005), blz. 69- 85.
  • Wegener Sleeswyk, R.S. e.a., De museumcollecties: een lust en een must! , Leeuwarden 2005
  • Ott, A., ‘Nanne Ottema en de Ottema-Kingma Stichting’, Ott, A. red., Wat niet weet, wat zeker deert. Liber Amicorum Douwe de Vries , (Leeuwarden 2014), p. 123-138.
The OKS Collection

Our collection consists of approximately 30,000 cultural heritage objects which are loaned to 34 institutions.


Secretariaat Ottema-Kingma Stichting
Harlingersingel 23-A
8913 CJ Leeuwarden

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