Letter of Kahlil Gibran to Carolus Verhulst, 10 May 1927
In 1921, Carolus Verhulst (1900-1985), at that time 21 years old, founded the bookstore/publishing company Servire in The Hague, NL. The name Servire is an allusion to Verhulst's wish that his publishing company would be subservient to humanity. About 1928, he married Elisabeth Duif (1901-1971). Together with his wife, he managed the publishing company until her decease.
Verhulst wanted to run a company which published esoteric and philosophic works. The '20's were not suited for such a policy. As a result, the Servire catalogue had a general nature and contained works on various fields such as art, the Dutch East Indies, esotery, history, nature, novels, philosophy and travelling.
Verhulst was a convinced pacifist. In the early '20's, he was one of the first Dutchmen who resisted draft. This resulted in imprisonment. In the years which preceded World War II, he also published idealistic and pacifistic literature and leaflets.
The publication shortly before the invasion by the Germans in the Netherlands of A.M. Meerloo's Homo militans - de psychologie van oorlog, ziekte en vrede in de mens, in which national-socialism was forcefully condemned, resulted in a conflict between Verhulst and the Germans. They forbade him to publish; he once was threatened with death. With the help of others, he could lay hand on paper and managed to publish. As a security measure, his authors and translators often used a pseudonym.
After the war, Verhulst resumed his publishing activities. From 1967, Servire publishers was seated in Wassenaar, adjacent to The Hague, at the Zijdeweg 5a. In 1976, Verhulst ended his work at Servire publishers. In November 1976, he founded an esoteric/philosophical publishing company, named Mirananda, a company which since 2004 carries the name Synthese. The name Mirananda, a contraction of Mira and Ananda, means: beatitude in love, and shines light upon Verhulst's ideas and ideals.
For many years, Servire publishers remained an independent company. In 1981, Felix Erkelens became in charge of the company. Under his management, Servire publishers became entirely devoted to the publishing of esoteric literature. In April 1999, Servire publishers became part of Veen publishers, Utrecht, NL.