Foundation Wiessing – Van den Eeckhout
The story of the family and the family capital
It all started in 1917, when the three brothers Henri, Kees and George Wiessing founded a trust for their sister Anna.
Anna, the only daughter of Marinus and Mathilde Wiessing-Van den Eeckhout, was a teacher. In 1917 she was 34 years old and she was obviously not going to marry. Consequently, she would not have much income when she got older and, besides, she was somewhat sickly. Her brothers, being better off, founded a trust for her as a wedding present for their parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. That is why our family tree goes back to Marinus and Mathilde.
On 14 August nineteen hundred and seventeen in Batavia the three sons of Marinus and Mathilde, in remembrance of their parents’ fortieth wedding anniversary and in gratitude for the sacrifice made on behalf of their education and studies, founded a trust.
This is how the foundation was described in the very first statutes and, as it is such a beautiful phrase and refers to its origins, it is used again and again for every amendment.
The first foundation board
And so the foundation was established in Batavia where Kees lived at the time. The first board consisted of the three founders: Henri, the eldest brother, as chairman in Amsterdam; Kees (who knew most about money and had the most) as secretary-treasurer in Batavia; and George as a member in Oruro, Bolivia. Together they raised 800 guilders and that was their anniversary present.
The very first statutes are probably still in Batavia, for the only statutes to be found in the family archives are the ones drawn up in Amsterdam in 1941 when the war had already begun. They were recorded again at the time since, otherwise, Anna might not have been able to profit by the trust.
For a long time, probably until Anna’s death in 1953, no family members, other than the three board members, knew about the foundation, despite the fact that the statutes, apart from Anna’s upkeep, contained a second objective:
It is the aim of the foundation:
a) ‘to ease the life of the founders’ only sister, Anna Maria Mathilde Wiessing, with a financial contribution, particularly when the professional activities of this woman, who makes her own living, have come to an end;
b) from the revenues, to support all descendants of Mr and Mrs Wiessing – van den Eeckhout with their spouses, male and female, and those who are considered as such.
As long as Anna lived the money was meant for her only. The fewer people knew about it, the fewer could lay claim to it.
A new generation accedes to the board
From 1940 to the year the first of the brothers died, the board of the foundation probably never met. After all, there was only a bank account to be administered, and Kees could deal with that. When Kees died in 1957, Frans, the eldest son of George, was appointed secretary-treasurer by Henri and George. When Henri found out, at Kees’ death, that he was also on the board, he said: “Do give my position to my son, Jan”. Whether Jan entered the board at that moment or only after his father died is not completely clear.
The board consisting of George, Frans and Jan functioned for years. George was an important member; he decided where to invest the money so that the interest would provide income. These investments used to be semi-charitable such as the extension to a hospital. At the same time the foundation had a good savings account and the fortune kept growing. It grew from “fl 4.100 on 31 December 1957 to fl 94.800 on 1 January 1979”, according to a 1980 letter from Frans in which he asked members of the family to make suggestions concerning the future of the foundation.
He and Jan, as the only 2 board members, were at a loss about what to do with the foundation, for in 1975 George, as the last of the founders, had died. All Marinus’ and Mathilde’s offspring were invited to a family meeting concerning the future of the foundation.
How to go on?
During that first meeting in 1980, with many family members present, elaborate discussions took place about the various propositions on how to proceed with the foundation. There were some ideas about splitting up the money or donating it to charity; also about changing the Foundation into an association. But in the end it was decided that the Foundation was to be continued, that the objectives and beneficiaries of the aid were to be altered a bit, and to found an Association in addition to the Foundation. Moreover, it was decided to extend the board from 3 to 5 members.
The founding of the Association
In 1981 another meeting was arranged, the inaugural meeting of the Association. Frans, being chairman of the Foundation, and Inez Marijnen, George’s eldest granddaughter and future chairwoman of the Association, paid a visit to the notary. The statutes of the Foundation were brought up to date and a charter was made for the Association. The Association aimed at organizing family meetings in order to deepen the mutual ties between the descendants. In addition the members of the Association would advise the Foundation board. Many people attending this first meeting joined as members straight away, and the first family activity was organised in De Biesbosch in 1982.
And now we have arrived at the situation as we know it today:
a Foundation, with a board of 5 members, managing the family capital. The members are recommended by the family Association and are nominated for life. They deal with requests and decide whom to lend or donate money to. They oversee the archives and the family graves in Graauw, Driehuis-Westerveld and Hilversum
And then there is the Association, subsidized by the Foundation, looking after the non-financial family matters. They publish the family magazine the StamStem and organize yearly family reunions.
In spite of all kinds of social services in our legislation, it is sometimes necessary to assist someone in very difficult circumstances and the trust is still being used for that purpose. For a long time, however, there have been many requests other than those
“concerning support for the primary necessities of life” as stated in the inaugural statutes.
The Foundation mainly offers support in social, educational and cultural areas such as demands for scholarships, special journeys, instruments or special tools for study purposes.
The Foundation also offers support to entrepreneurs starting up in the form of an incentive loan. The latter is not mentioned explicitly in the statutes, but is granted by the board.
The last time the statutes were modified was in 2001 on acquiring the inheritance of Kees (who by then had become Uncle Kees for our generation), to allow the Foundation to own real estate, having inherited, among others things, half of his house after the death of Aunt Enny.
Requests for financial support for oneself or others in the form of a loan or a benefaction should be addressed to the secretary-treasurer of the Foundation.
Pia van Oord-Wiessing
2636 BD Schipluiden
The request should be substantiated and if possible accompanied by a proposition for remuneration.
Loans up to 2000 euro are free of interest. Larger loans may be possible. Interest will be charged on the amount exceeding the free interest part. Read more in Rules concerning loans and benefactions.
It is up to the board to decide whether the grant is a loan or a benefaction. For privacy`s sake the board will not inform third parties of transactions. Nevertheless, applicants can be asked to write an article about their project in the StamStem so that other family members can keep up with the activities undertaken within the family.
Henriëtte Wiessing, chairwoman
Pia van Oord-Wiessing, secretary-treasurer
Martita Wiessing, member
Elvira Nolten, member
Jeroen ten Haaf, member
Casteren, January 2008
(with thanks to Noor van den Born)