Get to know… Meinard Sprenger

How old are you, where do you live and with whom?
I am 75 years old and live once again in Oostkapelle -where I was born – and am married to Berenice Noordam, a painter who has her studio in Rotterdam. I am enjoying my retirement here while Berenice still works in her studio in Rotterdam every day. We have two sons: Damiaan (35) lives with his Alexandra and their son Thibaud (1) in Amsterdam and Gerrit (31) with his Marloes in Rotterdam.

How long have you been a member of the Fund?
Actually since I was born but officially since I was 21. My father was Administrator, and I went with him to the meetings from an early age. Back then, those were small meetings. Over time, I have seen that change. A meeting of 10 people used to be a lot, now the room is packed. Before, “young people” were not that interested; the Fund was an old men’s club, but convivial. After the meeting, family members came to stay with my parents, so the Sunday after the meeting was always busy and enjoyable.

How long have you been active in the Fund, and in what position(s)?
I am mostly active in the sense of attending the annual family meetings. I am not much of a meeting tiger, but I am always willing to DO something. For instance, I helped organise the anniversary celebrations on the occasion of the 250 – and 255 – anniversary. And I have sometimes been on the Preparation Committee.

What motivates you to do so?
Overall, I support the fund, it’s a good institution. I know from experience that some people have been helped immensely. I also really like the student benefit programme.

Another aspect is conviviality. The Fund’s activities are always accompanied by a lot of conviviality and I like that.

Furthermore, I sometimes jokingly call it the best insurance there is. For 4 euros a year, I know that if the worst comes to the worst, I can call on the Fund. That is a reassuring thought, although I hope I will never have to use it.

What memorable moments have stayed with you from your time within the FFH so far?
That mainly concerns the activities outside the meetings, then. The festive reunions in the anniversary years. I remember the 200th anniversary, but more recently the 250th anniversary and of course the festive celebration of the 255th anniversary on July 9, 2022 in Vlissingen.

How do you see the future of the Fund?
The number of family members is increasing, which reduces the ties between them. And thus anonymity is increasing, which is something we should perhaps consider together.

What is your profession?
I have worked all my working life (42 years to be precise) in the logistics world of the port of Rotterdam. Always in a managerial or executive capacity. I find it a fascinating, challenging and beautiful world and have always enjoyed my work.

What are your hobbies/interests?
We live in the Manteling of Walcheren. That’s on the Kop van Walcheren, between Domburg and the Veerse Gat dam. It was once family property until it was sold to Staasbosbeheer. As a volunteer for Staasbosbeheer, I do a lot of maintenance in the woods and a duck decoy. I enjoy doing that and it is nice to work in the open air.

I also volunteer at the Polderhuis museum in Westkapelle. I help with maintenance and preparing all kinds of activities, among other things. It is useful work and sociable.

And I enjoy singing and am a member of the Westkapelle Choir. This is extra special because we perform in Walcheren traditional costume and thus honour a tradition. The Fund also contributed to the book we made to mark the 100th anniversary in 2022.

In your opinion, what is your best trait, and what your worst?
Bad trait: I can be a bit impatient at times….
Less bad: my motto is “things will work out”. I always see the glass half-full. I am an optimist on a micro level. But if you read the newspaper, there is little reason for optimism at the macro level right now.

What does your ultimate day of self-care look like?
Getting up early and reading the newspapers (on paper and online). Mess about in the garden a bit.
We live a 5-minute walk from the beach within hearing distance of the sea. I go and look at the sea every day. Take a swim in the summer and go for a walk in the winter.

And I really like hiking. Together with a hiking companion, I have hiked all the islands of the entire province of Zeeland, always keeping the salt water visible on the left shoulder. We did that in stages over two years. It was fun to do that together, the two of us coming up with great conversations along the way. And afterwards we wrote a mood report of each stage: what we saw, what stood out and the encounters we had.

John Merrill’s book “Turn Right at Land’s End” inspired me to do this. He walked the entire English coast by himself, even wading through rivers instead of taking a ferry. We were not that strict with ourselves; it had to be fun, obviously. And there was always a beach pavilion or café to be found for a pleasant rest.

Get to know… Corrine Compeer

She is probably the most well-known figure in the Hurgronje Family Fund. She is also the only one who does not share a blood tie with the family, although by now she is very familiar to us. Who is this woman we all know by name? What drives her?

A conversation with Corrine, secretary of the fund:

How old are you, where do you live and with whom?
Last April 13, I turned 60! I was born and raised in Middelburg and have been living in Koudekerke with my husband Frank for almost 30 years now. We have 2 sons aged 22 and 26 who have more or less moved out. They both live in Tilburg.

The youngest lives in a dorm room without a washing machine so he comes home for a weekend every two weeks and then I do all his laundry in one day. The eldest has had a girlfriend for a year now and has been coming home less often since then, but they both still like to come home. When they are here, we do fun things together. They even go on holidays with us.

Ramon, the youngest, is studying business economics. He’s taking it easy and if he doesn’t graduate this year it will be next year. He is very active outside his studies and enjoys life.

Sander, the eldest, is a music teacher. He has had a passion for the guitar since he was ten. After secondary school, he did the preliminary training for the conservatory in Tilburg, but that was a bit too much focused on jazz whereas Sander is a real rock lover. Wanting to instil the love of music in others too, he ended up going to the Academy for Music Education in Tilburg. Sander is also a performing musician and has been the regular guitarist of the tribute band “The Doors in Concert” since 2020. With that, he performs nationally and internationally and his proud parents can regularly be found in the audience!

Since when have you been secretary of the FFH?
October 1, 2018. So I have just completed my first lustrum ?

How did that come about?
It worked out a bit weird. I worked full-time for 10 years after graduation, until Sander was born. That’s when I chose to stop working (for pay) and focus entirely on the children. But once Ramon was in secondary school, I wanted to go back to gainful employment.

I have always done a lot of voluntary work, and pretty much always as a secretary. That suits me. For example, for the church buildings committee. There I had a good rapport with the chairman, who knew the accountant of the Family Fund. And he had heard that there was a vacancy for a secretary. So I wrote a letter and was invited for an interview. There was one other candidate.

Pretty soon, I was informed that I had not been chosen because the other candidate had bookkeeping knowledge and experience, which I did not have. So it was understandable that she was chosen.

I then started training to work at the unemployment office. But when I finished that training, my father became ill and I chose to take care of him until he passed away. That was in 2016.

In 2018, I received an email from Titia, referring to the job interview two years earlier. The secretary of the Family Fund had now moved to The Hague, and so the fund was again looking for a secretary. Was I still interested?

This seemed more fun than working at the unemployment office. Another interview followed and we came to an agreement. I started with 10 hours a week, but that soon turned out to be not enough. Since then, I have been working 20 hours a week, averaged over the year. There are periods when I work more hours (closing the financial year in September/October and organising the family meeting in December/January), and periods when it is quieter. I received a crash course in bookkeeping from Arie van der Kruk, Titia’s husband, and fortunately I can still turn to him for bookkeeping help at the opening and closing of the year.

You are very dedicated to your work. What motivates you?
I enjoy making people happy, it helps me grow personally. I am usually the bearer of good news and that is wonderful. I am less good at delivering bad news, but I do my best to articulate and explain that as well as I can.

What memorable moments (fun or not so fun) have stayed with you from your time within FFH so far?
Tricky question… The first family meeting I attended was very exciting for me. I had no idea what to expect, but I had to organise it.

Corona is memorable. After 2 live meetings, it now had to be via zoom. The family meeting is a contractual meeting, so it MUST take place and that was admittedly stressful. I had to find a suitable venue while everything was closed. Eventually, I found a venue that was willing to host the board. But lunch was a problem. We agreed that it was left waiting in the corridor where we then had to go and get it ourselves. The following year, until the day before the meeting, it was not clear whether the meeting would be able to take place live. That was a madhouse.
It all worked out in the end, and those are highlights in my FFH career.

Other than that, a lot of little things… Certain applications, good memories. That motivates me tremendously.

How do you see the future of the FFH?
In terms of administration, it is becoming more and more digital. The binders with papers are going to disappear. The Administrators (and the secretary) used to meet physically very regularly. That is now only three times a year, with the rest going by e-mail.

Other than that, I think it will just continue as it is now. More and more charity organisations are finding their way to the fund, partly thanks to the website.

What did you do before coming to work for the FFH? What is your education?
After secondary school, I studied law at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. I then worked as a legal assistant at the water board in Goes and at the (then) municipality of Veere.

What are your hobbies/interests?
Doing things together with family or friends. We live in a beautiful area here and I really like cycling and walking. At the end of the (working) day, I love to cross the high dunes to Vlissingen. A short trip to the sea is very important to me. I also like to read, and I love to cook, alone or with my husband.

What does your ultimate day of self-care look like?
Sleeping in, having a nice breakfast together. And then going outside, getting active. With my husband, with the family, or with friends. Frank and I also both like to work in the garden, so when it’s just the two of us, it can be very simple. Happiness is found in very small things.

Get to know… Joris Boddaert sr.

My first contact with Joris was exactly 2 months ago today. He failed to log on to the website and asked for my help. We soon got to “talking”, first by email and then via Skype. It appeared to me that Joris is a remarkable person and thus worth interviewing to bring him into the limelight of the Hurgronje family.

How old are you, where do you live and with whom?
I was born 19 March 1945. So I have recently turned 78 and have been with Catrien for 49 years. We married in 1984 and have two children aged 38 and 35. I am a genuine Rotterdammer. In the Maas city, my grandfather (chemical engineer) started a research laboratory in 1901, and thanks to my father and my brother Robertus, the lab remained within the family for exactly a century.


How long have you been a member of the Family Fund?
Since the age of 21. Back then, the family meetings were in Middelburg. I went along and had a good time. There were several young people there.

How long have you been active in the Family Fund, and in what position(s)?

I have never held an official position within the fund (I am not a governor, I have no talent for that sort of thing), but as an ordinary member I have been active at intervals. After the age of 50, I became more interested in the fund. In recent years, I have organised the sports event twice.

There will be another sports event in 2024, although I said “I’ll never do it again” at the 2020 annual meeting. It’s a huge hassle, but I have great fun doing it.

What motivates you to be active for the Family Fund?

I’m getting to enjoy the fund more and more. It does good work, very genuine, and well organised. Recently I had a very good experience with Titia Bosch van Rosenthal. She really helped my son, very adequately. I am very grateful to her for that.

Over time, I have made friends within the fund. People with whom I am in regular contact. That too motivates me to do my share.

What memorable moments have stuck with you from your time within the Family Fund so far?
In the 1960s, I was a budding journalist and downright poor. I then received money from the fund.

At a family meeting, I estimate it was about six years ago, my elder brother Dolph took the floor. I did not agree with him at all and so I also expressed my opinion. Thus a discussion developed between him and me. That must have been remarkable for the other people present; those two ageing brothers standing there arguing with each other….

The discussion about the chair. That was something! Afterwards, I visited Arjan van Dixhoorn three times as a journalist. Nice man.

And of course the sports events. What a lot of work it was to organise them! But the result was very satisfying. On both occasions, we spent a very enjoyable day with several dozen family members and made new contacts.

How do you see the future of the Family Fund?

Very positive. Unless the entire global economy collapses, but otherwise the fund will continue to exist. And the number of members continues to grow. So the fund has a right to exist.

What is your profession?

Journalist-historian. I have written for De Rotterdammer, Het Vrije Volk, De Havenloods and De Oud Rotterdammer. In the 1990s, I was editor of the Kroniek for nine years, the magazine of the Historical Society Roterodamum, which had 3,000 members at the time.

I wrote many commemorative books on commission, with the overall production also in my hands. For example:

  • One hundred years of the Food Inspection Service in Rotterdam
  • Bookstore Donner 1912-1992
  • Restaurant Old Dutch (60 years)
  • The White House 1898-1998
  • Café Melief-Bender
  • Kralings Swimming Pool Association, 1931-1996

I have written and produced 22 books, collections and facsimiles, always with the history of Rotterdam as the central subject. The most important is my café book series: Rotterdam cafés from 1900 to the present. It is 5 oblong books (coffee table format) with around 1400 photos, from various archives and by contemporary photographers. You may call it a standard work. There is one more book due to be published: ‘Rotterdam Restaurants’, from 1900 to the present day. Next year I’m really calling it quits!

What are your hobbies/interests?

I play golf, regularly play poker in the pub, and love hiking. I’ve been to Nepal twice up to 5400 metres high! I also really like sea swimming. For that, I go to Zeeland, to Burgh-Haamstede, where we have a family house.

In your opinion, what is your best trait, and what your worst?

Worst: I am terribly sloppy with paperwork and such. That’s a writer’s trait.
Best: I have a clean character, I’m quite nice to people. And I’m critical, which is sometimes good and sometimes not.

What does your ultimate day of self-care look like?

A long hike in nature during the day and going to the cinema in the evening. In between meals at home, because Catrien cooks so well that I prefer to eat at home. Eating out is also very expensive these days….

Finally
Joris has offered, when he has finished writing the restaurant book, to write an article (or even a series of articles!) on the history of the Family Fund. This in collaboration with his brother Dolph, which is hereby duly noted 🙂

Get to know… Joris Boddaert

How old are you, where do you live and with whom?
I am 41 and have been living in Bussum since 2017 with my wife, our 3 children, our au-pair from Brazil, 3 guinea pigs and a puppy.

How long have you been a member of the Family Fund?
Since I was 21, that is, 20 years now. My father registered me when I was born. At 21, I signed up as a member. That was actually not debatable at our house.

Hurgronje has always been part of my life. As a little boy, I used to go along to the meetings. In those days, administrators still had to live on Walcheren, by the way.

How long have you been active in the Family Fund, and in what position(s)?
For me, it began with Hurgronje’s Young Dogs. After that, I was less involved for a while, until I was approached in 2017 for the position of administrator. It was actually planned that I would first tag along for a year but due to circumstances, it immediately became for real. That was in early 2018.

What motivates you to be active for the Family Fund?
Above all, it’s really fun work to do. In my opinion, we are in a privileged position: a wonderful fund that has existed for 255 years. To be part of that is wonderful.

The assets have grown tremendously and we can actually do something with them. Of course, you shouldn’t do anything too exciting with those assets. That is not what it is meant for. As administrator, I am jointly responsible for managing the fund. The return on the assets gets to be used to support family members and charity projects. In doing so, we bring some of the assets back into society, and that is gratifying.

Every application comes in with an extensive list of information. But what interests me most is the person behind the application and the “real story”. The applications are a special way to have pleasant contacts with family members.

What memorable moments have stuck with you from your time within the Family Fund so far?
My youngest Hurgronje memory dates from when I was 11 years old: the lustrum celebration. It was a family day with hockey and football between the stakes. A carriage with Isaac and Josephine addressing the family members. There was a rally in beautiful vintage cars. Then a lavish dinner. That was overwhelming to witness, partly because I realised everyone was family. For me, the memory of that anniversary is an important reason to also dedicate myself to the fund. I hope I can give others that same memory.

Other memorable moments are in the personal conversations I have with family members when they ask for help. People give you an insight into their personal affairs, with the aim that the Family Fund might help them. This is not always easy and it requires family members to confide in us as administrators. We have to be careful with that. But if it eventually leads to an allocation and you can really help someone, that’s very gratifying.

How do you see the future of the Family Fund?
Above all, we should not make it too exciting. What we do, we do well.

I am very happy with the website and the newsletter. We used to be a little group that met once or twice a year, nowadays there is more connection. Today, it is possible for everyone to see what is happening, if you take an interest in the fund, then you can easily follow where the money is going. In this day and age, it is also easier to organise such things.

For the future, I think we need to focus even more on connecting people. I hope that one day we can physically acquire something, for example a section of a holiday park, or a beautiful old Zeeland house. A place where the family can come together. But also, for example, to be able to offer a break to family members who are having a hard time.

What is your profession?
Lawyer in Amsterdam, together with 3 other partners. I specialise in corporate reorganisations, bankruptcy situations and complex corporate law procedures. In particular, experience with debt issues sometimes comes in handy in my role as an administrator.

What are your hobbies/interests?
I divide my time between family and work during the day, and Hurgronje in the evenings. That leaves very little time for other things… However, if we can find the time, my wife and I like to go for a bit of race cycling. And on my own, I like to go running. I try to make time for one or the other at least once a week.

My wife and I both love to cook. I like to cook a nice piece of fish. When I go to Zeeland, I always stop in Stellendam or Neeltje Jans to buy fresh fish.

In your opinion, what is your best trait, and what is your worst?
Best trait: I can handle a lot, keeping many balls in the air.
Bad trait: I am an extreme deadline worker and thus a poor self-starter.

What does your ultimate day of self-care look like?
My ideal day: after waking up calmly, first coffee! Then go outside, work in the garden, take a walk, or go for a bike ride. Then a nice hot lunch and wandering around Amsterdam in the afternoon. To then finish with friends on a terrace on a balmy summer evening.

We did this last weekend, by the way. In which the balmy summer evening was replaced by a heated terrace. Not bad either.

Anything else you want to say?
I really enjoy working for the Family Fund. The legal profession is great fun, precisely because you help people. But you also do it as a profession and make a living at it. There is thus a commercial drive, you are (sometimes) limited in the time you can devote to a case, the financial capacity of your client and what not. When working for the Hurgronje Family Fund, none of that comes into play. It is gratifying to be able to help people, without having to consider whether it will pay off. You only really realise how valuable that is when you have contact with the person being helped. Being able to offer someone something they wouldn’t easily be able to do for themselves, such as aids for a disability, bridging a time of scarcity, a little extra for which there would otherwise never be room financially. The personal feedback from that, that’s what you do it for.

Get to know… Victor Cramer

How old are you, where do you live and with whom?
I am 47 and live in Leidschendam with my wife Corinne. Until recently, our three children were living with us, but they have all left home now. Two are studying and one is taking her final exams abroad.

How long have you been a member of the Family Fund?
Since I was 21, so it has been 26 years now. My mother is a member and my parents always went to all the meetings: the family meeting in January, and the summer meetings that were held regularly at the time. My uncle (Matthijs Snouck Hurgronje) became an administrator, and I have been attending the meetings for years.

How long have you been active within the Family Fund, and in what positions?
First of all I was a member of the Young Dogs of Hurgronje. With them I organised and participated in a number of meetings in the big cities. Then, in 2004, I became a member of the Preparation Committee. Until 2007, because we then moved, as a family, to America. We returned in 2012, and I then became a member of the Assets Advisory Committee. And I continued as a member until I became an administrator at the beginning of 2021.

What motivates you to be so active in the Family Fund?
Two things: first of all, it lives within my family, I grew up with it.

Second: it is a unique institution. You can do a lot for family members who need help and also for charity. The fund has existed for such a long time! I like the combination. Everyone can make a contribution, including me, so that’s what I do.

What memorable moments stand out for you from your time with the Family Fund so far?
I have good memories of the summer meetings from my childhood. My parents once organised such a gathering in the Kop van Noord Holland.

The 225th anniversary was also great. It was a very big gathering. I remember my mother driving up in a carriage with Dolph Boddaert. They played our forefathers. A beautiful scene and a great party. The family is good at that.

The good memories are mainly of the Young Dogs meetings and the summer meetings. That tradition should be continued. It helps to forge a bond among the members. You are family and it is nice to get together.

How do you see the future of the Family Fund?
Within the family there will always be members in need of support. As long as we manage the fund well, that is possible. And that is the most important thing. The fund is growing and new people are bringing in new ideas. It is wonderful to have such an old fund and I see a long future for it.

What is your profession?
I am Deputy Director for International Affairs at the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security. We try to support the ministers as much as possible on their travels and on international issues such as cross-border crime or terrorism. I travel a lot with the ministers. Negotiations are usually conducted in English, but the previous minister spoke more languages than I did. I manage well in French and English, but he also spoke Italian, for example, and when he spoke with his Italian colleague I had to step up my efforts.

What are your hobbies/interests?
We have a sailing boat in Hoorn. That takes a lot of time and maintenance, but now that the children have left home we have more time for that. Great sailing in the summer. IJsselmeer, Friesland and the Wadden Sea.

I also like to work with wood. Making furniture, for example. It takes forever, it takes a lot of time, but I love doing it. I have a shed full of “stuff”: so much so that when it’s time for maintenance of the boat, the daggerboard and the rudder are in our living room.

In your opinion, what is your best quality, and what is your worst?
I think my best quality is the fact that I get on well with many different people. I don’t get into fights easily, which is useful both at work and in private life. And I like to be in contact with many different people.

As for my worst characteristic: there are many to choose from 😉 I think I can be impatient sometimes. And I am a sloppy carpenter.

What does your ultimate day of self-care look like?
Together with Corinne and the children, on our boat on the Wadden Sea. We take the tide and sail with a tail wind to one of the Wadden Islands. A bite to eat, the view over the dike: life is good.

Get to know… Elizabeth Braam

Living and working in the Orchard and on the Waterfront in Drenthe

If you are a member of a family with more than 700 family members, it pays off for them to know about your activities. Because if nobody knows what you do, they can’t choose to spend their holidays with you. And that is a great pity! Because Elizabeth offers a holiday opportunity that could interest a lot of family members. For this reason, I would like to introduce you to Elizabeth.

How old are you, where do you live and with whom?
I am 53 years old and live in Ruinen with my husband Joris and our 14-year-old daughter Pien. We moved to Drenthe from our small appartment in Amsterdam almost fifteen years ago. We exchanged the busy life of the city for an old farmhouse on a large property with peace and quiet, space and lots of nature.

Joris and you made the film about 250 years Hurgronje Family Fund. Tell us about that please.
In making that film, we built up nice contacts with, among others, the administrators of that time, which made us feel even more involved. We have been in contact with a number of them ever since. Edzard Gelderman once spent a week with us in the holiday cottage and Titia and her husband Arie have camped with their caravan in our orchard by the water several times.
Digna and her husband Ernst have also stayed with us for a weekend once.

During the making of the film we also talked to Matthijs Snouck Hurgronje about the manuscript of Isaac and Paul Hurgronje’s journey. Fascinated by the story, in the summer of 2018, with the travel report of the Reislustige Zeeuwse regenten in our hands, we re-travelled part of that 1769 journey to England. It is still on our wish list to someday complete this journey. Family members who would like to know more about our adventures during this trip, or perhaps want to make the journey themselves, are welcome to contact us.

Joris teaches at a secondary school in Meppel. He supports the project education at VWO+, and gives film lessons to vmbo-students. In addition, he regularly makes (promotional) films for the school. Recently, for example, he filmed the visit of Adriaan van Dis to his school.

He enjoys filming (it is, after all, his job) and is very good at interviewing people. For example, a few years ago he interviewed my parents about their lives. Together with the interviews of their children and grandchildren, he made this into a very valuable document. And he also filmed his ex-mother-in-law talking about her life. She is now 93 and feels it is important that after her death her children and grandchildren can still hear and see ” straight from her ” what she experienced in her life. If there are family members who would also like to have such a document, they can contact us. In this way you will get “the film of your life”.

How long have you been a member of the Family Fund?
Since I was 21. At the time I also joined the Jonge Honden a few times. My son Adriaan is now 22 and studies in Delft. He has just become a member of the Family Fund. He is also a member of the student fraternity and has discovered distant cousins who are also members of both. That is really nice and rather special!

What do you do for a living?
On our 2-hectare property, we have a holiday cottage that we rent out all year round. We were able to build it thanks to a loan from the Family Fund. The cottage has its own entrance and overlooks the Ruiner Aa and the nature reserve where brown cows graze in summer.

In addition, we rent out a gypsy wagon which is situated in a beautiful spot by the pond. The gypsy wagon belongs to an artist friend of ours. She once came to stay here and was looking for a nice and quiet place for her wagon. We had that place and the wagon has been here ever since. When she is not here, we can rent it out. In the summer months, the wagon is available for rent for the whole month.

In summer, we also have a furnished bungalow tent in the orchard by the water. As of recently it even has its own swimming pool! The tent is suitable for 4 persons, but it is also possible to place an extra tent. The orchard is a lovely place and only accessible to guests of the bungalow tent. It’s a very relaxing place: make a campfire, have a swim in the Ruiner Aa or just laze about with a view of the fields. It is luxury camping in total peace and quiet.

I mainly take care of everything that has to do with renting out the accommodations. In addition, I also have an administrative job with the government for 2 days a week. Thanks to corona, we can finally work from home, which is easy to combine with the work on site.

And how do you spend your free time?
In the garden! Or horseback riding with Pien or a friend. We have had two ponies since the first lock-down, one that we can ride and an old one for company. I do a lot of things with our daughter and help her with her schoolwork. I also like meeting new people, so renting out here on the site fits in very well with that. Sometimes we stay in touch with the guests, even after they have left, and that is great fun. A number of regular guests come back every year and I have also gained a number of friends.

However, we can’t do everything ourselves, so we have help. Since about 7 years now, Magda (I found her on the bulletin board in the supermarket) has a biodynamic vegetable garden here. She maintains this vegetable garden and we regularly get fruit and vegetables from her. And then there’s Paul, the neighbour, who has come every Thursday morning for years to help with garden chores; the bigger jobs you’d rather not do alone. And Monique, she rented the cottage last year and is now our regular babysitter when we are away for a few days. She also regularly comes to help me with all the chores that need to be done here, from working in the garden to painting, carpentry, cleaning, lawn mowing etc., and she loves horse riding.

What I don’t like as much, and what I’m not very good at either, is promoting my accommodations on a website or Instagram page. That’s why the cottage and the gypsy wagon are on Natuurhuisje.nl and on airbnb, where the bungalow tent also features: the cottage, the gypsy wagon and the bungalow tent.

How did you get through the corona period?
The corona period was a good time in terms of renting. We offered non-contact accommodation and many people sought refuge here. After all, they could not go abroad on holiday and a hotel was not an option either. So a stay in the beautiful Drenthe was a godsend for many people. A nice break in their own country.

Now that the measures are being lifted, many people are booking holidays abroad. Somewhat understandable, but let us not forget that we here, and certainly in Drenthe, also have a lot to offer! Getting away from it all and recharging your batteries in the beautiful countryside of Drenthe and enjoying the silence can do a person a world of good!

What does your ultimate day of self-care look like?
Going outdoors and working in the garden! Taking a walk with Joris and Pip the dog, riding horseback with Pien or a friend. Add to that a bit of sunshine, nice guests who enjoy their stay with us, and the day is perfect. Unless it’s freezing 10 degrees; in that case I’ll go ice skating 🙂

!!! Special offer for members of the Hurgronje Family Fund !!!

For family members who book an accommodation directly with me, I have a nice offer. You can opt for a 10% discount on the overnight stay OR a delicious free breakfast on the first morning after arrival.
AND we like it when family members join us for dinner one evening (this is obviously not mandatory).
For more information about the possibilities and to make reservations, please call Elizabeth Braam 06-21531216.

Get to know… Michiel Oortman Gerlings

How old are you, where do you live and with whom?
I am 57 years old and have been married to Suzanne for 26 years; we have 3 studying children who are all members of the family fund by now. Suzanne and I live in Baarn with our dog, Stach. It is quite special to be two now that the children have left the house. But during the weekends, there is always at least one child at home to provide us with a bit of action.

Two of our children are doing internships abroad this academic year, which we follow from a distance. We have a family house in Zeeland. My brother lives there and we regularly go there on holiday. We then stay in the “gardener’s cottage”.

How long have you been a member of the family fund?
Since I was 21, thanks to my parents. They were both members and even met through the fund! They come from different stakes, but both had the right to vote. My uncle Jan Heyse was administrator for a long time and I slowly but surely got into it.

How long have you been active in the family fund, and in what positions?
In 2011/2012, I was asked to join the Asset Advisory Committee. At first I thought it was a mistake, because my brother with his “banking background” is more financially savvy. However, it turned out not to be a mistake and I accepted.

In 2017, I was asked to become an administrator. This came rather unexpectedly due to the resignation of Bernhard van Meeteren.

What motivates you to be active for the fund?
The fact that the fund exists at all should be cherished. None of the current family members has ever had to do anything for the property that is now managed by the Fund. It is just there.

As administrator, you try to assess each application as objectively as possible. You look at each application from all sides to make a fair decision within the rules and in the spirit of the fund. No two applications are alike and that makes applying the principle of equality a challenge!

What memorable moments stand out for you from your time with the family fund so far?
The last lustrum was an absolute highlight; 250 years is no mean feat… So many people together who are all related to each other. Very special.

The family meeting in January is an annual highlight, especially because of the ambiance afterwards. We will try to get together again “live” as soon as possible. Starting with the upcoming family day on 9 July 2022.

How do you see the future of the family fund?
If all goes well, the fund will still exist in 250 years. That is something that no bank can categorise. They have categories for up to a few decades in the future, but not for 250 years or even longer.

As administrators, we are temporarily managing something that has existed for a very long time and will continue to exist for a very long time. That is very special, where do you find that anymore?

What is your profession?
I have been a notary for 22 years and I still enjoy it. There is an increasing amount of administrative work involved. It’s part of the job, but these days you’re sometimes judged more on that than on the legal content. It’s all extra work that has little to do with the content of the profession.

What are your hobbies/interests?
I have been a navigator at classic rallies [= rallies with classic cars] for 15 years. I have an MG from 1976, but as a navigator you always get into other people’s cars. So sometimes I sit next to the driver in my own car, or in the driver’s car.

I also regularly navigate at international rallies. It may sound strange, but 10-12 hours in a car with the map on my lap clears my head.

[When I ask if the navigation is done by the dot-arrow-system (that’s the only thing I ever heard of) he tells me that there are about 80 map-reading systems, and that they all use them interchangeably. Pffft!]
The Tulip Rally is the oldest Dutch rally and is on the agenda again in May. It normally ends at Huis ter Duin in Noordwijk. Hopefully that will happen again this year…

In your opinion, what is your best quality, and what is your worst?
Well, what can I say to that…? I think my best quality is my sense of justice. If someone applies to the family fund, it is because of a reason; you have to expose yourself. As an administrator, I try to look at both sides as best I can, to represent both the applicant and the fund. Is this fair? Is it within the rules? You have to weigh up every application very carefully.

[Michiel calls in his wife Suzanne for his worst quality. He himself leaves so we can talk freely. Suzanne tells me the following:]
Michiel is very empathetic, he can empathise with others. He has integrity. Michiel is a very hard worker. The function of acting administrator is very intensive; it really is a second job.

As a quality trait I would say the fact that he cannot say no when people ask him for personal help, and then I mean in practical matters. [You could also consider that a good thing, but I think Suzanne means that it sometimes comes at the expense of himself and his family.]

What does your ultimate day of self-care look like?
I love being in our little house in Zeeland. That is the ultimate relaxation for me. Walcheren, cycling, tinkering around in the garden. Going for a walk on the beach or in the woods with the dog… wonderful!

Anything else you want to say?
I like the fact that things are now happening in the family fund. These interviews are a good initiative!

Get to know… Titia Bosch van Rosenthal

People are curious and the family members of the Hurgronje Fund are no exception. Who are all these relatives? Where do they live? And with whom? What drives them? What do they do in their daily lives?

To answer these and other questions, we decided to interview family members. We take a virtual look behind the scenes, as it were. Titia Bosch van Rosenthal, the acting administrator, takes the lead.

How old are you, where do you live and with whom?
I’m 61 years old and I live with my husband Arie and our two dachshunds in Oostkapelle. Arie and I have been married for 18 years and we undertake a lot together. Arie has two grown-up children with whom I get on well. And for the grandchildren I am just as much grandma as he is grandpa. Once in a while we go and pick them up in The Hague. Then they stay with us for three nights (party!) before we bring them back. That’s quite a heave, but also very wonderful.

How long have you been a member of the Family Fund?
I became a member when I was 21. The family on my mother’s side always attended all the meetings.

How long have you been active in the Family Fund, and in what positions?
I have lived abroad from the age of 17 until the age of 41, so I could not be active during that time. However, I did receive regular support from the fund for health reasons. In 2008, I became a member of the Preparation Committee, and in 2011 I became an administrator.

What motivates you to be active for the Family Fund?
First of all, because the Fund was there for me when I needed it. When I returned to the Netherlands, I decided that if the opportunity arose, I would like to do something in return.

Secondly, the uniqueness of the fund, the good causes, and meeting all kinds of people. It gives me energy, even though it is quite time-consuming.

What memorable moments stand out for you from your time with the Family Fund so far?
First of all, the family meeting in the Town Hall of Middelburg on the occasion of the inauguration of Arjen van Dixhoorn as Hurgronje Professor; he set up the Hurgronje Chair on behalf of the Fund.

And, of course, the 250th anniversary of our Fund at the Twistvliet Estate, where young and old met. Since the lustrum festivities, we see more and more young people attending the meeting. There is a regular core of family members who always come, but there are also new people every time.

What do you see in the future for the Family Fund?
After 250 years, changes are not likely to take place. We are a conservative organisation. Nevertheless, there must be room in the future to adapt to current events. I hope we will keep up with the times. I see that as crucial to making the younger generation enthusiastic to take over later on. But I am 100% convinced that the fund will continue to be around for a very long time.

What is your profession?
I trained as a hospitality manager at Hilton International. After that I ran a hotel-restaurant in England and worked for 5 years as an information manager at a college in Taunton (UK). Back in the Netherlands, I started working part-time in my sister’s interior design company in Amersfoort. The last 5 or 6 years I have been working part-time for various institutions. Since Arie retired, I have been working less and less.

I like interacting with people, and the work for the Family Fund fits in with that. I am also the secretary of the family association of my father’s family. For this, I organise a meeting in the Achterhoek region every year (4 generations). In the meantime, I keep everyone informed of what is happening on that side of the family.

What are your hobbies/interests?
Gardening, cycling, golf, taking care of nature inventories at the golf club (with various specialists). Arie and I are enthusiastic swimmers. From April to October we go for a swim in the sea on a daily basis. We like to go on excursions. We spend one month a year on the Spanish coast with our dogs. That way winter doesn’t last as long for us.

In your opinion, what is your best quality, and what is your worst?
I think my best quality is my empathy. I don’t rely on what I see at first glance, but make the effort to get to know the person. If I see that someone is struggling, I do my best to help. I have a lot of patience in this respect.

My worst quality is definitely the fact that I find it very difficult to feel when I need to take a break. How much energy can I put into something before it is too much?
Since childhood, I have been struggling with a very nasty virus. If I’m really enthusiastic about something, I keep going until exhaustion hits. And then that virus rears its head again. As a result, for example, I have been partially paralysed in my face for the past five years.

What does your ultimate day of self-care look like?
In the morning, a lovely walk in the countryside with Arie. Then a nice lunch somewhere with a beautiful view, and then walking back by the light of the setting sun.

Is there anything else you would like to say?
Administrator is a job that takes a lot of time. I am currently the only administrator who lives in Zeeland, so Arie and I are often on the road to attend openings, concerts and so on of organisations that are supported by the Fund. Fortunately, we both really enjoy doing this. It’s really special to be able to see all those projects up close.