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.