Leni Haaring-Vreugdenhil: ‘Some stories I’ll never forget’

Kees & Leni Haaring – Vreugdenhil (N IX k.9)
By: Christine Steenks – van Groningen
Source: Familiestichting
Photo: Leni Vreugdenhil

For ten years Leni Haaring-Vreugdenhil (79) has taken care of the design and content of the Vreugdeschakel. Which is quite the feat, especially since she was solely responsible for it for six years! “It was very satisfying and fun work.” At the start of this year she quit. “My age was a good reason.”

Leni started her volunteering for the Family Foundation back in 2000 with tracking down the new addresses of Vreugdenhils who’d moved houses. Five years later they asked her to become the board-secretary. “I took over from Ria Vreugdenhil in order to take some of her tasks off her hands since she already was responsible for editing the Vreugdeschakel.”

Rolled in
Three years later Leni picked up a second task when Ria stopped editing and no-one came to strengthen the team. “The Vreugdeschakel is the most important connection between the board and all Vreugdenhils,” Leni says. “The board was at it’s wit’s end without editorial staff. I had no idea how it all worked, but decided that something was better than nothing and took on the Vreugdeschakel. So I was kind of forced into it, but always had a love for language and writing. In any case it was more fun than tracking down wayward addresses.”

Impressions
The fact she stayed for ten years showed that Leni had a lot of fun editing. “At the start it was sometimes difficult to find subjects suitable for the Vreugdeschakel. Thanks to the internet that later became easier. Some stories I’ll never forget: like Jan Vreugdenhil’s Dairy Foods, Mies and Jan Meijer-Vreugdenhil’s care-farm in Friesland, and, of course, the many reverends and politicians of the family. Our family is very diverse and it’s a lot of fun to get to meet new family members!”

New Energy
According to Leni the Vreugdeschakel remains an integral part of the Family Foundation. “Other than entertaining members with pictures and stories about the family, the Chronicles actively work in keeping the genealogy up-to-date. Our genealogy has been researched by Koos Verhulst in the past century and will only remain relevant if people keep passing their information-changes onto us.” Even though Leni managed to compile and edit the Vreugdeschakel on her own for years, she’s happy to have reinforcements. “I hope that the editorial staff will grow with more young and enthusiastic people. They’ll be able to add to the staff with their own ideas and give the board new energy.”