Rudy’s maternal grandfather, Henri Sierens, emigrated to Canada in 1902, leaving behind his wife and family in an impoverished Flanders. He worked hard and used the money he earned to pay his wife’s journey overseas to join him in Canada. Several years after his arrival Henri purchased several acres of fallow land, which through hard work he cultivated into several acres of fertile farm land. Henri grew and harvested wheat, which was sent off to a Europa riddled with famine due to the Great War. It was during these wartime years that Marguerite Sierens (St.Alphonse 09.08.1915 – Beernem 13.08.2009) was born in Canada and that Mathilde Fransoo, Marguerite’s mother, became homesick for her family in Europe. By the end of 1919 Henri and Mathilde’s Canadian adventure was at an end and they returned to Knesselare.



On October 24, 1939, Marguerite married Rudolf Geldhof (Knesselare 08.07.1916 – Bruges 13.03.1989), a tanner who had taken over the family business on the Hellestraat in Knesselare from his father, Karel Geldhof. Some months later the Second World War broke out. Marguerite became pregnant early on in the War, but sadly suffered a miscarriage during childbirth on August 1, 1941: she would have had a little girl. In the midst of WWII, on October 13, 1942, their first son, Rudy, was born in Bruges.

In 1944, a little while before the German retreat, Rudy was a little under two years old. In August of that year, his parents had agreed to take in a young member of the resistance for the night – he had shot a German officer in the hand. The following night the house in the Hellestraat was surrounded and searched thoroughly by the Germans in the dead of night. The officers had with them warrants for his parents' arrest; they were to be taken to Aalter for further questioning. As a two-year-old toddler, Rudy slept in his cot on the first floor and despite the noise and upheaval slept through the whole episode. The Germans, however, thought the young resistance member was hidden in Rudy’s room. Guns at the ready above Rudy’s bed, his mother cried: “Nicht schiessen, das ist mein Sohn, Rudy” (“Don’t shoot, that’s my son Rudy!”). De Duitse officier, die het bevel voerde, was vertederd, omdat hij in de heimat ook een enige zoon van die leeftijd had die Rudi noemde en hijzelf noemde Rudolph net als de vader van Rudy. Upon hearing this, the German officer in command grew softened, as he himself had a son of the same age named Rudi whom he had left behind in Germany, and his own name was Rudolf just as Rudy's father's was. Their arrest was subsequently postponed. Three weeks after the incidents, on September 13, 1944, Knesselare was liberated by the Canadian armed forces.

The time Rudy spent in Knesselare shortly after the War was carefree; his father taught him how to play football at a very early age. Rudolf himself had been an exceptionally talented attacker at V.V. Harop Knesselare in his time. A great many stories in the newspaper featured Rudolf; his name had become well-known by the football tournaments his team won, in which he had been the star player. And there had been a moment when representatives from Cercle Bruges had begun to take an interest in his talent, but Rudy’s father preferred his tannery to the football field. Meanwhile Rudy attended the local primary school, where, as on the football pitch, he was somewhat of a ringleader, making friends effortlessly and without exercising any authority; everyone looked up to him and enjoyed being around him. Even then Rudy was able to write beautiful essays and could enthral his classmates with his stories. His powers of observation were keen, and he had the ability to retell events up to most minute details. At home, Rudy quickly worked his way through his parents' books from the Davidsfonds. Thuis was er ook vanaf de uitgave van het eerste nummer het wekelijks stripblad "Robbedoes". The Geldhofs also received the weekly comic “Robbedoes” from the edition of its first number. Reading those comics and books, and being surrounded by an affectionate environment, contributed to Rudy’s rich fantasy world from an early age, so too did his 3 younger brothers: Rony (Bruges 24.05.1945 – Bruges 25.07.2000), Regy (Bruges 19.05.1948 – Beernem 28.01.2016) and Randy (Bruges 4.01.1952 –). During his time at primary school, Rudy already knew that he wanted to be a writer. He inherited his sense of reality and his unrestrained imagination from his father and from his mother inherited the art of storytelling, the ability to enthral his fellow man with his stories – she had always excelled at storytelling. And, as the eldest of the four boys, his brothers looked up to him.

The 10 years that followed after the War ended were favourable for the small family business. The tannery in the Hellestraat was broken down and rebuilt stone by stone at the Koningin Astridlaan in Assebroek. On May 5, 1955, the family Geldhof-Sierens moved into a newly built villa. Rudy left primary school and continued on to Catholic secondary school. Rudy’s father then let him become a member of R.C.S.B. Cercle Bruges, and within a year Rudy’s talent on the pitch was rewarded with the trophy for the top trainee. After a preparatory year at the Sint-Lodewijk College in Bruges, Rudy became a student at the new O.L.Vrouw College in Assebroek, which was part of the college in Bruges. The new school was still under construction and in the first few years the students and teachers were forced to improvise a great deal: classes were held in the barracks, in other, smaller schools, as well as in the open air. The first few years of Latin and Greek in the old classical curriculum went very smoothly - as it happens that curriculum was the only one on offer at the school, which made his fellow students feel like pioneers of sorts. They were also the eldest form, which always felt special to Rudy. In this way he never "really" experienced secondary school. 

During his six years at the college, Rudy was a source of inspiration to his brothers. At that time the family did not yet own a television, and his parents visited the cinema regularly. After dinner, it was customary that the brothers gather around on his parents’ big bed, Rudy would then begin telling very exciting and thrilling stories about cowboys and Indians, knights in suits of armour, gangsters, soldiers... When, after a few hours, their parents returned from their visit to the cinema, the brothers quickly disappeared into their own beds. Often whilst he told his stories, Rudy’s youngest brother would already have fallen asleep because it was already late, but that was never a problem, as Rudy could pick up the story at the exact point at which his brother had fallen asleep, and could finish his captivating tale. He would also draw and cut out his own board games on pieces of card, filling in spaces on the board with the events and experiences of the recent weeks. And naturally they had their own rules… Another game Rudy invented was "playing at soldiers". The four brothers would build a fort with toy blocks, and would then take turns shooting at each other’s toy soldiers with marbles from a distance. If the marble knocked over the soldier, whoever had shot would be able to move one hand’s length toward the enemy. The last to soldier standing won the game. Playing blackjack for money, or "pietjesbak" for money, or monopoly, word games or card games... for money... Rudy kept the family amused for years and the 4 brothers enjoyed a carefree childhood.

Rudy’s father, in the meantime, had tired of the tanning profession, it was very labour-intense and physically demanding, and the tannery was pervaded with the odour of tanned hides.And so he began looking for a more refined occupation, buying up a small glove factory from a business man who was about to retire. The transition turned out a success relatively quickly, with the factory manufacturing high-quality leather gloves. As the business was prospering, Rudolph Geldhof gifted his sixteen-year-old son with a small hunting rifle, which could be loaded with small bullets of shot. Rudy would walk around his parents' big garden dressed like a real hunter, wearing an outdoors coat and a hunting cap, his binoculars hanging from his neck. There was not much wild life around in the garden surrounding Rudy’s house, which is why, on one or two occasions, he ventured into the neighbours’ overgrown garden - naturally, when he knew they were on holiday - hoping to add to his trophy collection. Once, he shot a sparrow but found it had stayed alive. He then called his youngest brother to come and help him, who, although he was ten years younger than Rudy, simply took a spade and killed the sparrow in one blow. Rudy was ever so grateful to his brother, and bought him a "Suske en Wiske" comic as a reward. On another occasion, however, things did not go as well, when coming into the sitting room with his loaded rifle, its barrel aimed at the floor, for some reason the rifle went off, the shot ricocheting off the floor, with one of the pellets ending up in his father’s ankle. From that moment on Rudy's hunting days were officially over: the rifle was put under lock and key and stashed away in the attic.

His love for poetry and literature meanwhile continued to grow. From 1959 to 1960, Rudy attended "Poësis" courses at the O.L.Vrouw College, where he was noticed by his Dutch language teacher who compared his essays to those of the other students. All his classmates looked up to him - Rudy by then was already able to write in various styles, which was exceptional for the time. He would spend his time at libraries and in book shops discovering new things and broadening his literary horizons. Rudy’s favourite author was Franz Kafka, despite the fact that he did not really understand much of the texts. But Kafka was "in", and so was reading books that had been banned by the Church. It was cool to speed-read through Jean-Paul Sartre, or some other blasphemous author or other, but more often than not without really understanding the books. At the time Rudy was wrote sheets and sheets of poetry, but was too embarrassed and shy to show them to his school teachers, let alone to his parents. And yet he summoned the courage to send in a few of his poems to the "Poëtisch Bericht van West-Vlaanderen" - a poetry journal in West-Flanders. Two of those poems were published in 1960, much to Rudy’s astonishment and satisfaction - they were called "Impressie ‘s avonds" ("An Evening’s Impression") and "Terras" ("Terrace").


een koud biertje kelner
hier zo kalm
in knusse stoel
op terras zo koel
een sigaret aan 't bijten
klinkende cognac
klakkende lippen
nippende tongen
tikkende hakken van serveuse
tik klink cognac
meisjes trippelen voorbij
gekeurd wordt elk
de mooiste kruipt in mijn glas
ik kijk een kwartier lang
- in mijn glas -
rieten stoelen op een rij
slapende muziek
film van vrouwen
trekt voorbij
de waardin
"nog iets m'neer?"

impressie 's avonds

op het zinken dak
zijn waterplassen
een grauwe kleine vogel
machtig en dwaas
zinloze duisternis

He was offered 300 francs for his contribution, the first money he earned through his writing - not too shabby for an 18-year-old. Rudy showed his classmates the poems that had been published in the journal, who, in turn, enthusiastically went to their teachers, saying, "You’ve got to see this, it’s amazing: Rudy’s poems got published in a journal! Right next to Spillebeen's poems, Speliers’ and Christine D’Haen’s!" The teachers, however, were not impressed. Rudy’s dream was to become a novelist, and although he made several attempts to continue in that vein, he quickly found out that novels were a very roundabout medium. He was also still very young and had had little or no life experience. But the future looked bright, and in the meantime Rudy kept up his writing, doing poem, after poem, after poem.

It was around that time that a girl, from the "Bidonvilles" outside Paris, had come to stay at a neighbouring household for a month. She came from a poor family and through a charity organisation, which placed such impoverished boys or girls in more prosperous households in Belgium, came to live in Rudy’s neighbourhood. Rudy was so taken by the notion that he asked his parents if they couldn't take in a girl like that for a month: they agreed to. This was not enough for Rudy, who kept on asking his parents, "Why just for one month? Why not forever?" And again his parents gave in. Rudy had never known his older sister, who had died at birth, and after his younger brother was born, two more came along. The Belgian Congo had recently become independent and a large number of children that had issued from a marriage between a white father and a black mother had been renounced and rejected. Marguerite and Rudolph contacted the Rwanda Fund, which was an organisation that tried to find safe homes for those children in Belgium. It was to be a long wait after their application was sent in. Rudy was in his final year of secondary school, taking classes in Rhetoric at the O.L.Vrouwcollege. One day the phone rang, and Rudy was present when they asked his father whether he would like to adopt a little baby girl. Naturally, his answer was: yes. His father was told that the little girl had already been put on a flight to Belgium. On September 13, 1960, the entire Geldhof family travelled to Zaventem to pick up the nearly 3 year old girl. They chose to call her Bernadette (Bujumbura 10.11.1957 – Bruges 25.08.1995). She brought a refreshing vibe into Rudy life, as well as into that of his parents and his brothers. What a tremendous effect she had on everyone! A little sister at last!

From September 1961 onward, Rudy read his first year of Classical Philology at the University of Louvain, mainly because of his love for philosophy, rather an interest in Latin or Greek. Then, the classical languages were removed from the curriculum and replaced by Germanic languages, which forced Rudy to drop out. He also had yet to fulfil his military service and so whilst waiting for that to begin helped his father at the glove factory. Rudy refused to be one of those people, of which there are so many, sitting at a desk thinking about their boss's pay rise, who have career as a civil servant, who get married, settle down and start a family. On March 27, 1964, he began his obligatory military service at St. Truiden, staying on for the duration of twelve months, and returned to his work at the family business after being discharged.

In May of 1968, Rudy came upon an advertisement in a newspaper asking for an interpreter to work at a souvenir shop at Lourdes. The job seemed well-paid and included all the benefits of the time. Rudy immediately replied to the ad, eager to broaden his horizons. He got the job, and worked as an interpreter at "La Croix Bleu" in Lourdes, a large store selling statuettes of the Virgin Mary as well as holy water; Flemish customers were offered a ten per cent discount. The people Rudy worked for seemed to him to be cynics and atheists, while their staff were quite the opposite, being faithful and pious believers who meant well. This struck Rudy as an absurd situation, which intensified his desire to write something on that topic. In September of that year, the new football season started for V.V. Harop Knesselare. The manager of the football team also happened to be the director of a coach holiday firm, which occasionally made trips to Lourdes. He would then bring Rudy back to Belgium on one of the coaches, in that way, having his front midfielder easily at hand!

Football! Back at home, Rudy and his younger brother Rony would play a football game which Rudy had invented: it merged tennis and volleyball with football. Each player would occupy half of a kind of tennis court, the court would be divided by a net, and the ball would only be allowed to touch the lawn in one's own half of the court one time: the boys played the game for hours on end. This meant that Rudy and his brother Rony were physically and technically well-trained and proficient. Rudy’s football skills were also constantly improving, but, like his father had done before him, he too opted to keep on playing for V.V. Harop Knesselare in the third regional pool of East Flanders, rather than to move on to a more prestigious club. His technique as a striker was superb; he scored plenty of goals and earned himself a reputation feared by every defender. In 1969, a newspaper typified him as "one of the most dangerous strikers currently around in the third regional pool of East Flanders". The same article paid close attention to Rudy's "technique, his speed, his ability to follow a play through, his lethal and on-the-mark shots, and his more-than-adequate headers".

Rudy, however, was becoming more and more aware that his calling was to become a writer. He began to look for seasonal work that would make him enough money to be able to focus on his writing during the winter months. He found a job at the Oostende Lines and, for four years, worked in Ostend, seasonally, as an assistant purser or as a controller at the Regie voor Maritiem Transport (the Belgian state-owned ferry service). Working the irregular voyages and weekends, Rudy managed to save enough financial means to work at his dream during the winter months. During that time he tried experimenting with prose and poetry, but found that it was not for him. When in London, he would buy heaps of pocket issues about the theatre arts and the "angry young men"; he would also cut out and collate into a collection all the theatre reviews which he found in the old newspapers used at his father’s workshop. His parents then gave him, and a large group of friends, including a painter, permission to use an older, unused part of the glove factory as an art studio. There they held many discussions about literature, literary renewal, painting, politics, etc. Though inspired Rudy’s attempts to write short plays failed. But he persevered and had his mind set on writing a full-evening play.

His play "Vriend" ("Friend") is a fully-fledged, evening-filling play, which is totally new to the current theatre-going audiences. Rudy spent two years working on it, and completed it in 1970 when he was just 28 years old. After completion, he sent his manuscript to all the well-known theatre companies, of which the majority never even sent him a reply. A few theatre companies sent him a polite reply praising his play. However, given the polemic of the play and the progressive subject that it dealt with, the play was never staged. It came close to being put on by the Werkgemeenschap (a group of young avant-garde actors) affiliated with the Théatre de la Bourse in Brussels. The director was to be Dries Wieme and the Royal Dutch Theatre in Antwerp (now Het Toneelhuis) showed some interest in producing the play, on the condition that it was reworked somewhat. In the 1970s, however, theatre companies were very much afraid that they would lose the funding they received from the government. Rudy had no choice but to set aside the play with the intention of dusting it off again when the time was right, but sadly, due to his other work, he never got the chance to do so. Now, however, is the perfect time for this play to be sampled by the theatre audiences, as fortunately a great many taboos have been broken compared to 38 years ago. As a play, "Vriend" already contains all of the ingredients of Rudy’s work which in later years would come to define his style as an author: beautiful, realistic dialogue, passionate characters, and a rising sense of drama and tension which dominates the ending. But, it was not to be: "Vriend" was never staged.

Don't fold or be put in a mould, thought Rudy. And in 1971, shortly the disappointment he faced with “Vriend”, he wrote "Mijn Vakantie met Blomme" ("My Holiday with Blomme"). Rudy, who by then had been gripped by theatre fever, thought he would try a different route: if the theatres would not put on his work, then he would take it to the streets. The play, "Mijn Vakantie met Blomme", however, has to this day never been staged. Neither outdoors, nor on the streets.

But Rudy did not give up: On December 1, 1973, he opened theatre café De Kelk in the Langestraat in Bruges, in a building that had been empty for several decades. With the help of his friends and occasionally of members of his football team from Knesselare, Rudy was able to work wonders with the place: the handsome, sizeable Jugendstil café and spacious house were stylishly furnished. Rudy designed the café tables himself, taking the stands from old-fashioned sewing machines and giving them new marble table tops. That same year, he wrote his one-act play "De Geit" ("The Goat"). He had intended to put on the piece at his own theatre café, but still needed to find the necessary actors, a director and the financial means to make it happen. In the meantime, the theatre café showed guest productions by other theatre companies, hosted non-stage performances, as well as performances using a primitive stage constructed out of empty crates and plywood, which required limited technical support. The West-Vlaams Theaterkollektief Malpertuis (West Flemish Theatre Collective) from Tielt, for instance, staged a production of "Play Strindberg" (Dürrenmatt) at De Kelk, through which Rudy met Jacky Tummers, the director of the play. It was through Tummers that Rudy met Wil Beckers of the Nieuw Vlaams Toneel De Waag (New Flemish Theatre De Waag) from Antwerp, which had been founded to put on progressive Flemish and Belgian Dutch language theatre productions and to stimulate that sector. Mr Beckers was very enthused after having read "De Geit" and commissioned Rudy to write a second one-act play. Rudy named that second play "Buurt" ("Neighbourhood"); and the two one-act plays premièred in Antwerp on January 16, 1975 - they were later also performed in the house of De Kelk. It was during this time that Rudy Geldhof’s talent as a playwright was revealed to the world, and further success was not far off.

In 1975, Rudy married Marleen Vandenabeele (Bruges 09.07.1954 - Hertsberge 04.08.2009). The following year his play "Het Souper" ("The Supper") was staged in Tielt, and "Éénentwintigen" ("Blackjack") premièred in Antwerp in 1977: both were very well-received. That same year, 1977, he, Jacky Tummers and an expressive artist founded the Teater De Kelk as a non-profit organisation. A new, comfortable theatre space of roughly 80 seats was built behind the main house, which was still used as a dance hall for youngsters, hosting many a disco party: for the younger generation it was "the place to be". Thespians and theatre-lovers equally considered it so. In 1978, three plays premièred: "Twee Vrouwen" ("Two Women") at Teater De Kelk, "Mijnheer Karel" ("Mr Charles") at Malpertuis Tielt and "Katanga Diane" at Teater De Kelk again. In 1979, "Winnaars en Verliezers" ("Winners and Losers") was staged at the new Ankerrui Theater in Antwerp, which belonged the NVT - the play was a co-production between the NVT, Teater De Kelk and Teater Vertikaal (from Gentbrugge). They were busy times for Rudy, not least because on November 14, 1977, with the birth of his eldest son, Alexander Geldhof (Bruges 14.11.1977 - ), he had become a parent for the first time.

Teater De Kelk managed to survive without government subsidy for the first two years of its existence - two was the usual trial period then. From the 1979-1980 seasons onwards, the theatre started receiving funding. As soon as it first started to be subsidised by the government, Rudy handed over day-to-day management of the theatre to an HRITCS graduate. He felt it was important to finally have some time to focus on himself and leave behind all the worries which the theatre company brought with it. Rudy and Marleen had their second child in 1981; Rudy named his second son Rudolf (Bruges 13.2.1981 - ) after his father. Rudy continued to write for stage, putting his heart and soul into his writing. In 1980 he wrote "De Vrije Madam" ("The Free Lady"), which evolved from its first working title "Noch Vis, Noch Vlees" ("Neither Fish, Nor Meat”). The piece was a monologue written specifically to be performed by the actress Yvonne Lex. The actress herself, however, deemed the monologue to be beneath her and would not perform it. It was then thought that Ann Petersen should take on the part, she even seemed a better choice than Yvonne Lex, but sadly Petersen could not clear her schedule for it. That same year "De Vrije Madam" was awarded the Visser-Neerlandia prize; it would also go on to make history.

In November, 1981, Rudy’s play "Bob en Liesbeth" ("Bob and Liesbeth") premièred at Teater De Kelk. It was a more intimate play; and less popular among Rudy's audience. It was around that time that Rudy befriended Chris Lomme, who played the part of Liesbeth. Lomme had ties to the KVS and it was through her that Rudy was commissioned to write a full-evening play for the KVS. He wondered, would his old dream become reality? Unfortunately, the project failed, Rudy only worked on 3 out of the 11 scenes: the project died a slow death. On November 25, 1981, his adaptation of H. Walbert's "De Pornofilm" ("The Porn Film") was aired on television. Rudy then began writing more and more for television. October 24, 1982, saw the broadcasting of his adaptation of “Cello en Contrabas” (M.Dekker) on the national BRT channel (Belgian Radio and Television); on January 16, 1983, his adaptation of "Lente" ("Spring") (C. Buysse) was aired; and on March 13 Rudy’s adaptation of his very own play "Het Souper" appeared on the box.

The BENT Ensemble (Belgian-Dutch Theatre Productions), then located at the "Benterij" in Kasterlee, was willing to take production of the acclaimed play "De Vrije Madam" upon itself. The captain of the company, Jaak Vissenaken, would be the director. However, no suitable actress could be found for the lead role. Rudy then asked Jaak if he would not be interested in taking on the role himself: Rudy convinced him. The monologue was directed by Annelies Vaes and was staged hundreds of times both in Flanders and in The Netherlands. It was very successful, even in the market halls of Bruges. Rudy and Jaak together put together another international showpiece: "De Zwarte Kant van ’t Belfort" ("The Dark Side of the Belfry"). The play aimed to highlight specific facts from Bruges's medieval history in a comical fashion. It was to be performed at the market halls of Bruges, but due to the financial difficulties faced by the city council at the time it was never put on.

After the success of Rudy's adaptation of Cyriel Buysse's "Lente", he was commissioned by the BRT to write a screenplay for Buysse's "Tantes" ("Aunts"). It was aired on October 28, 1984. Rudy's adaptation of Belcampo's "De Surprise" ("The Surprise") aired the following month, on November 4, as part of the series "Made in Vlaanderen" ("Made in Flanders"); and on October 19, 1986, the film adaptation of "De Vrije Madam" was broadcasted. In the meantime, however, Rudy Geldhof kept up his play writing, and went on to write "Huis van Vertrouwen" ("House of Trust") for the Korrekelder theatre in Bruges, which premièred on February 11, 1987.

Rudy’s television screenplay adaptations were so successful that the BRT commissioned him to write the screenplay for a 7-episode television series about the experiences of the Flemish people during the Second World War. The production team give him leave to do whatever he wanted after he had told them several impressive and intense anecdotes about the War, stories he had heard from his parents. Rudy named the series “Klein Londen, Klein Berlijn” (“Little London, Little Berlin”). It turned out a series that was to receive very high viewer ratings; it had a professional cast and a variety of intriguing main characters and supporting characters. But as Rudy said in of his interviews in later on, “for those on the white side I'll be too white, and I'll be too black for those on the black side!". These days, the series has become a classic, part of the canon, a set of programmes with educational and historical value.

Rudy as usual had no time to be idle, and "Madame Freundlich" aired on the BRT on February 10, 1991. It was written as a part of the television series "Oog in Oog" ("Eye to Eye"); the Catholic broadcasting service from the Netherlands, IKON, also took part in the project. Rudy held Ann Petersen in particularly high esteem, and it was she who was picked to perform the monologue, a role which she played very professionally. Rudy and his wife in the meantime had been divorced under mutual consent; every fortnight it was Rudy's turn to take care of his two sons, Alexander and Rudolf. He withdrew to the countryside, to a farm in Oedelem. During the course of those years, Rudy Geldhof won a great many literary prizes; and several of his plays were staged in French.

The BRT remained greatly enthused by Rudy's work and he was commissioned to write a 6-part serial about "De Moorden van Beernem" ("The Beernem Murders"); he named it "De Bossen van Vlaanderen" ("The Forests of Flanders"). Before the first episode of the programme was aired, hundreds of articles appeared in the press discussing the bizarre and sinister case of Beernem. The entire Flemish population watched the programme with great interest, with its extraordinary characters and its intriguing and thrilling storyline, which, of course, was so close to home. To this day there are still taboo subjects and tacit issues that remain among the current inhabitants of that region.

After the spectacular success of his television serials "Klein Londen, Klein Berlijn" and "De Bossen van Vlaanderen", Rudy suggested to the BRTN (Belgian Radio and Television Network) that he would write the screenplay for a new another serial, completely based on mostly autobiographical material, about the period after WWII: "De Jaren 50" ("The Fifties"). His outline for the programme, consisting of a short overview of the main characters and a synopsis of the story, was well-received by the BRTN and thus was approved.

On July 1, 1990, Rudy was commissioned by the BRTN to write an extensive scenographic synopsis of his new 7-part programme "De Jaren 50" - only the dialogue had yet to be written. Given that the production and filming of "De Jaren 50" was put on hold due to a lack of financial means on the part of the BRTN, Rudy was never able to finish a definite version of his programme.It was then that he returned to and concentrated on his first true love: writing plays. Towards the end of 1991, commissioned by Arca, Rudy wrote the piece "Prins Karel, Graaf van Vlaanderen" ("Prince Charles, Count of Flanders"), which was a daring and one-of-a-kind play that drew a lot of attention. Unfortunately, Rudy did not live to see the production of his final piece: Rudy Geldhof died several days before the opening night. It was obvious Rudy had intended to go on working, he had plans for a great many projects: a play about Guido Gezelle, another about Countess d’Hespel, and yet another play about Achille Van Acker, etc.

After Rudy’s death, the BRTN showed a renewed interest in producing "De Jaren 50". A large group of people, people who wished to see "De Jaren 50" broadcasted on television, lobbied for its production - people such as Cas Goossens, Marc Lybaert, Marga Neirinck, Frans Puttemans, Piet Balfoort, Paul Koeck, Carla Puttemans, Myriam De Lille, Winnie Enghien, Hugo Meert, Jan Ceuleers, and Jef Mellemans.But unfortunately their efforts were in vain, and the project again died a slow death during the course of 1997. If only a talented author were to present himself or herself, who would be able to rewrite the synopsis in dialogue form! The story, the intrigue, the characters and the locations of "De Jaren 50": all are sublime. So like Rudy, so typical of his talent.

Rudy was unique. A brother who had a great relationship with his younger brothers and sister, a father who had a great relationship with his sons. He was a playwright who had a great relationship with his assistants. Were he alive today he would have been 66 years old. Unfortunately, he left us all far too early, went before his time. And yet, in his own way, he has made himself immortal. For myself, I can only say that it was a revelation and an experience to have had Rudy as a brother. And I can safely say: Rudy lives on!

Thanks to:

Ruth Roesbeke, who has earned my sincerest admiration, who wrote her MA thesis, which earned her her MA degree in 2007-2008, entitled:

GESCHIEDENIS en VERBEELDING: Een bijdrage tot het onderzoek naar de visualisering van de Tweede Wereldoorlog in Vlaanderen aan de hand van de fictieserie ‘Klein Londen, Klein Berlijn’ (1988)

My sincerest admiration also goes to Hugo Meert, chairman of the VZW Initiatief Jeugd (Youth Initiative Society) and of the theatre in Tienen, who declared the year 2009 to be the Year of Rudy Geldhof. It was 25 years ago that year that Rudy made the decision to earn a living by writing. A large number of institutions were approached and took part in the revalorisation of Rudy as a unique playwright and screenwriter.


Randy Geldhof 

Beernem, October 13, 2008