Who could have imagined that when the decision was made in 1983 to establish a family foundation. One hundred Joyful Links ago. You could call it a golden jubilee. Who or what reaches this milestone of 100? More and more inhabitants of the Netherlands are reaching their 100th birthday. But that still remains a very rare exception. Companies or associations that have existed for more than 100 years may be eligible for the predicate “Royal”. However, in this case, it is about the 100th edition of our magazine, not the number of years it has existed. But we have every confidence in it. Unfortunately, there is no prize or predicate for achieving this milestone, so we will have to pat ourselves on the back.
When you reach the age of 100, you can say that all you need to do is keep breathing. However, that is not the case for our foundation. From the very beginning, there has been hard work to get us where we are today. The real instigator was of course Koos Verhulst. His voluminous life’s work, the orange book titled “The Westland family Vreugdenhil,” was the reason for the foundation’s establishment. It was a great and unique discovery that all Vreugdenhills come from one ancestor who lived in Naaldwijk. Therefore, the idea arose to bring the family ties into view based on that framework. The book had to be published and financed, the foundation had to be established, and board members had to be sought.
From the beginning, the Vreugdeschakel was seen as one of the most important activities of the foundation. It was identified as the cement between family members. It is an important way to shape the bond between family members and to keep alive the awareness that all Vreugdenhills are connected to each other. And this has been the case since the 17th century and beyond. The magazine is not called “The Vreugdeschakel” for nothing. By submitting stories and photos, we are all writing our own family history. And the older the stories and photos, the more interesting they are for descendants. This way, the children and grandchildren of the contributors can see them later, realizing that they are part of a larger whole. It is also the fulfillment of one of the objectives of the statutes. It reads as follows: “The acquisition, preservation, and management of items related to the Vreugdenhil family in any way.” In all those years, it has never been a problem to collect enough copy. The Vreugdenhills are an active and enterprising people. There is always something to report, whether it’s great companies, huge sports achievements, volunteer work, or special travel reports. The great diversity of activities and topics is a sign of the vitality and resilience of this family. And the impact of this can be seen in the stories of the 100 published issues.
Another great development during that entire period is that of digitization. Much energy and money have been invested in developing databases, website applications, and the design of the magazine. Thanks to automation, it has now become much easier to create the Vreugdeschakel and deliver it to the printer. All from behind the screen. This has also had an impact on the way the Vreugdeschakel is designed.
Thanks to automation, we have a great and professional website with interesting search options in the family tree. And all issues and news items can be viewed on the website. In short, a great archive about our family. And thanks to these developments, it is now relatively easy to keep the family file up to date, as you can see on our website. And through the internet and email traffic, it has become much easier to collect information about our (foreign) family members. Which family foundation in the Netherlands has a file of family members that covers the period from the first-born Vreugdenhil to the last reported baby in this way? We wouldn’t know.
The Vreugdeschakel and the website with the underlying information are therefore two important pillars. These have been further developed in the past 100 issues and will continue to be further developed in the future. Much can be expected from further digitization, expanding our foreign file. Therefore, the publication of the 100th Vreugdeschakel has also been given a new look, but you have probably already noticed that.
We would like to express our gratitude to all contributors who submitted interesting stories. Because the foundation stands or falls with the involvement of our family members. As far as we are concerned, it is a success story and unique in the Netherlands.