Rotary District 1550
THE HISTORY OF DISTRICT 1550, Kempenland, Nederland
A Part of Our History of Rotary in Europe
Prepared by the district and not verified by Rotary Global History
Rotary International had, at the beginning of the last century, originated in Chicago. From the beginning, new clubs in England enjoyed a high degree of autonomy.
In the Netherlands, the first club of Amsterdam took roots in 1923. In the Dutch province of Utrecht were soon thereafter, several new clubs formed.
In the Catholic region of Brabant, the first clubs were Breda and Eindhoven. Breda had already created many contacts throughout Holland when Eindhoven came into the picture and with the help of the Philips Group, attracted a large group of interested people. Then came a standstill during the war. Contacts with USA and England were difficult or impossible. But after the liberation there was more life in the brewery.
I, Jo Weenen, was a teacher and contractor in Tilburg and had a classicist as Rector. A real classicist, who prefered to speak ancient Greek than Brabants. And who told me on a certain morning, after the first cup of coffee, that a Rotary Club would be formed in Tilburg and that the chairman of the board would be he himself, and he wanted to bring this to fruition.
But we had to ask the bishop for permission who gratefully provided it and the club came into existence in 1959.
That was only the fourth club in Brabant. In late 1965 I was rector of the Duke-Jan College in Valkenswaard and enquired from a member, about forming a new Rotary Club - Eindhoven-Kempenland. Back then it was necessary to obtain consent from the bishop, but because I was rector of a Catholic school, it was no longer needed!
Under the leadership of the "special representative" Gilles Holst, we went to work and on 24 May 1966 we held our installation. The information was forwarded to Amsterdam and to our surprise we were already on 16 June 1966 by the administration in the United States, acknowledged as a true Rotary Club. How was that possible in such a short time? --- Listen to the simple solution.
In the year 1 June 1965 to 30 June 1966, there was a Dutch President of Rotary International Sput Teenstra. His term was to expire on June 30, 1966. That Dutch president wanted to as much as possible, have Dutch clubs really recognized and having been given the highest honour as President, was maybe trapped into a speedy charter procedure. Teenstra is to date, the only Dutchman to hold this high post in Rotary.
We went further and on 8 April 1967 we held a beautiful conference in the halls of my Duke-Jan college. And that happened under the leadership of Ir. Meyerink and in the presence of Sput Teenstra and incoming district governor Ir. CWJ Groothof. During this session Jes Snieder, wife of Jan, co-owner of a large known brewery in Dommelen spoke eloquently to the gathering. The encouraging wishes that she gave to us similar words of encouragement from the council was all equally catchy and poignant. We then had a cosy gathering in the beautiful large auditorium where we enjoyed a good time, prepared by the owner of our meeting shelter then in Eersel.
Late in the evening we were still experiencing some difficulties, because the official reporter, GJ Portielje was delayed in his 12 hour journey from Jagershorst.
So looking back at our first meeting of members, we still had a nice group together.
Without able to mention all those attending, some were 2 from the Philips Group, Hennie Vink director of their Natlab; Jan Volger, very versatile professor of Utrecht and Eindhoven; two representatives of the religions: Preacher W.E. Schlingemann and Prof. Spork; Henk Berkhout, official inspecting doctor from distant towns; and and Toon van Agt, mayor in Heeze. Finally, two members immediately brought international contacts. They were Mel Saaf Wibaut and Oscar who both worked in the auto industry with DAF who they brought us into contact with the Rotary Club in Coleshill, in England.
And so was the beginning of our club: initially in district 160, then 161 and now District 1550.
Names of governors until today: Dr. J. Weenen 1981-1982 The DM Jaeger 1988-1989 Dr. AH Bosma 2004-2005
Dr. Jo Weenen in 1982 to 1987 gave instructions to his successor governors. Dr. Dees Jaeger was the chairman of the Rotary Foundation in social work-related from 1989 to 1995.
acknowledgements to PDG and PP Dr. Jo Weeden, RC Eindhoven
researched and posted by RGHF Webmaster, Greg Barlow. August 2008