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History of Netherlands Vegetarian Societies

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), August 1894, p307: -

HOLLAND. - Herr. A. Verschoor, of Rotterdam, has issued a pamphlet, "Een Bond voor Vegetariërs!" advocating the formation of a Dutch Vegetarian Society, to be called the Nederlandschen Vegetariërs-Bond. In the pamphlet, which contains a number of recipes, are forms to be filled up by those willing to join a future Dutch Society, as either members or associates. Should a sufficient number of persons be willing to join Herr Verschoor he intends to organize the society.

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), December 1894, p433: -

THE DUTCH VEGETARIAN SOCIETY.- The end of September saw the establishment of the "Dutch Vegetarian Society." Its virtual founder is De Herr Verschoor, who wrote the small pamphlet which we have already noticed in these columns. In response to that, 34 names were sent in as members of 13 associations, and Mr. Verschoor and his friend Mr. Valk called together an initiatory meeting at the Hague for the 30th September. They had great difficulty in forming a committee. Though De Herr Verschoor knew three doctors who were vegetarians, he could not induce these gentlemen to place themselves at the head of the movement. However, at last the thing was done. A committee, consisting of five gentlemen and three ladies, was formed and the meeting was convened. The committee asked the Rev. Adam von Scheltema, the president of the Dutch Total Abstinence Society, and who has been a vehetarian for two years, to take the chair, but owing to his extreme age (for the rev. gentleman is 80) he had to decline. The meeting was only sparsely attended, but many letters of sympathy were received, empowering members of committee to vote for the uniters. Rules and statutes were passed, and the long contemplated society was established. The committee have since arranged with the manager of the Krasnapolski Hotel at Amsterdam to provide vegetarian dishes. But they hope soon to be in a position to open a restaurant on their own account. De Herr Verschoor speaks hopefully, and we wish the society all success! We must not forget to state De Herr Verschoor's correction. By misadventure we printed his name as Dr. Verschoor. He tells us he is only a clerk, and does not like to place himself in others' feathers.

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), December 1895, p409: -

Holland.- The Dutch Vegetarian Society held its first annual meeting in the "Diligentia," at the Hague, on the 6th October. The President, in his opening address, showed the progress which vegetarianism was making in other countries, after which the election of officers for the ensuing year was gone through. There have been several changes, but the services of Den Herr Verschoor, as President of the Society, have been retained, the vice-president being a lady, Medr. C. van der Hucht. There are besides her two other ladies on a committee consisting of eight, which we consider a very hopeful sign for the Society. Starting with 16 members and 37 associates, the "Bond" now counts 48 members and 42 associates. The Society has now joined the Federal Union, and has also been duly registered by the Dutch Minister. The work done during the first year may be called distinctly satisfactory. Though the funds must of necessity be small in a body of such short existence, the Society has undertaken to translate and publish Dr. Anna Kingsford's work on Food, which can be obtained by members at 50 cents (10d.) It has been prefaced by Dr. Fr. van Eeden. A vegetarian cookery book is in preparation, and may be expected by the end of the current year. Had funds permitted, the committee desired to be represented at the Amsterdam exhibition, but this scheme had however, unwillingly to be abandoned. Neither do they at the present stage feel justified in establishing a vegetarian restaurant. The amount of subscription is left to the discretion of members, provided it does not fall below 1 florin (1s. 8d.); but a provision exempts any members who state that they are unable to contribute. During the year the work of the Society has been several time brought before the public through the general press. Though articles have not always been favourable they have led to discussion, and the ventilation of the subject will do good, as the Dutch public are said to be very ignorant about vegetarianism. - Articles from vegetarians have been accepted by Gids and Elzvier's Maandschrift, and De Heeren Verschoor and Valk have given lectures at the Hague and Amsterdam. The last named city has been chosen for the next general meeting of the society.

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), January 1897, 33/4: -

The Dutch Vegetarian Society. - By the courtesy of Den Heer A. Verschoor of Rotterdam, I have received the second annual report of the "Neederlandsche Vegetariërsbond." The annual meeting of members and friends was held on the 11th October, in Amsterdam, Mr. Verschoor presiding. The president made a fitting introductory speech in which a hopeful ring was noticeable. He showed that though the number of members belonging to the Vegetarian Society was still small, a great advance had been made in the attitude of the general public and the press. He cited passages from the leading newspapers, which showed that the writers understood the question better than they did a year ago, and were hence much less inclined to cavil. When they criticised they did so in a more friendly spirit. The medical profession were beginning to lose their faith in the absolute necessity of a flesh diet. The speaker next pointed to what was being done in other countries, and concluded with a note of cheer and a call for strenuous effort. From the Society's report which was next read it appeared that the society began its second year with 48 members and 42 associates. During the year three members dies and two associates withdrew, whilst 14 new members and 13 associates were enrolled. Other three associates applied for membership on becoming vegetarians, so that now the Society numbers 64 members and 48 associates. During the course of the past year a Vegetarian Cookery Book has been brought out, under the auspices of the Society, at the price of 1s. 3d. Though the Executive think this is a low price, I am inclined to thinkthat it is too expensive. We have cheaper cookery books in England and earnings are much lower in Holland. The sale must of necessity be small, but a sacrifice on the part of the Society would have helped to spread the knowledge of vegetarian cookery. On the other hand, I do not forget that the Dutch eat less meat than the English and that Dutch housewives are more skilled in the preparation of vegetables for the kitchen than the average English woman, and hence a vegetarian cookery book is less needed. But if it is to sell then it should cost less than 1s. 3d.

Dr. Anna Kingsford's "Perfect Way in Diet" has been translated into Dutch and copies of it and the cookery books were sent to all the cookery schools in Holland, along with an explanatory letter from the vice-president. Three of the pricipals (out of 14) of these schools sent letters expressing their sympathy with the aims of the Society. So far it has not been possible to establish a vegetarian restaurant. Meanwhile the Committee has hit upon a plan which does them credit. They have asked other caterers to supply vegetarian dishes in their dining-rooms and are offering prizes to those which, in the opinion of the Committee or of Judges, hereafter to be appointed, shall have catered most efficiently in this direction. The Committee holds that if no other object is attained, they have here at least a good advertisement for our views. Several papers on vegetarianism have appeared in the public press - the Volksdagblad, De Vrouw, In en om de Keuken, De Volksvrend, Wetenschappelyke Bladen, De Toekomst. [continued at some length with details of papers and talks given]

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), October 1897, 343: -

The Dutch Vegetarian Society maintains a vigorous attitude. We have just received the first number (September) of its newly started magazine, which has done us the honour of copying our title, for Vegetarische Bode is the Dutch for 'Vegetarian Messenger.' It has struck me in this connection that in a country where vegetarianism is as new as in Holland, an organ of this kind must be more of the nature of a herald than a messeneger. The new organ, which is a bi-monthly, is under the joint editorship of Messrs. D. de Clercq and F.L. Ortt, and Mrs. C. van der Hutch, the last being the vice-president of the Society. [details of the first issue followed]

From the VFU Annual Report, 1897:

From The Vegetarian Messenger and Review (Manchester), January 1898, p41: -

Dutch Vegetarian Society. - The thirs annual meeting of this Society took place on Oct. 10th, 1897, at Amesterdam, under the presidency of Den Heer Van Ortt, who, in his opening address, set forth the high and comprehensive aims of vegetarianism, which teaches the "Gospel of Love." The various aspects of the question were touched upon by different speakers, some interesting discussion following the papers. A banquet, which was well attended, brought the meetings to a cheery close, all giving at parting a hearty "Au revoir!" The Hague was proposed as the meeting place for 1898. We may refer readers to the Bode for full reports. The Society has now 123 members, of whom 46 are associates, and the treasury appears to be in a healthy condition.

From The Vegetarian Messenger and Review (Manchester), January 1898, p41: -

The Dutch Society has again applied for affiliation to the [Vegetarian Federal] Union. It will be remembered that they withdrew owing to some politacl articles which appeared in the Review, and now finding that the Vegetarian Federal Union is definitely keeping to its role of working for humanity and not for races or creeds or countries they have again consented to join in the Vegetarian Federation of the World.

From The Vegetarian Messenger and Review (Manchester), October 1898, pp442-449:
- a very long and detailed article by M. Hompes 'Amongst the Dutch Vegetarians', which included a report of their 4th annual meeting at The Hague.

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester), July 1899, p189: -

Dutch Vegetarian Society. - The annual meeting is announced to take place in the open-air in the neighbourhood of Utrecht on July 30th.

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester), September 1899, p304: -

Holland. - The number of members of the Dutch Vegetarian Society now stands at 264.

Right - a pre- 1st World War badge used by NVB. The inner part of the design was also used by the London Vegetarian Society and appears to have been promoted by the Vegetarian Federal Union.

The following was contributed by the Soyfoods Center:

Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review (Manchester, England). 1908. "The International Vegetarian Union." Oct. p. 258-259. Describes the formation International Vegetarian Union and the Union's first Congress. "Dr. Meyroos [of Rotterdam] brought hearty greetings from vegetarians in Holland, and informed the Congress of the work the Netherlands Society had carried on for children. Although the Society was formed only 11 years ago, they had progressed at a rapid rate." Note: 11 years before the Congress would put the formation of the society in 1897, which differs from the 1894 date in earlier Vegetarian Messenger articles. The evidence is fairly clear, however, that a society was indeed established in 1894.

In 1909 a report in the Vegetarian Messenger (UK Vegetarian Society magazine) quotes a prominent member as referring to 'the fifteen years that the Bond has existed' - which would make the foundation in 1894.

The following extracts are the October 1908 issue of The Vegetarian Messenger (Magazine of the UK Vegetarian Society):

... Dr. Meyroos, Rotterdam, secretary of the Netherlands Vegetarian Society ... Dr. Selss, Dr. Meyroos, and Mr. William Simpson made a suitable response to Herr Dressler's welcome ... it was finally unanimously agreed that "An International Vegetarian Union" be formed, and that for the present no financial call should be made upon any of the Societies forming the Union. Dr. Selss (Baden-Baden), Dr. Meyroos (Rotterdam), and Mr. Albert Broadbent (Manchester, England), were appointed to act as a Committee.

... Dr. Meyroos brought hearty greetings from vegetarians in Holland, and informed the Congress of the work the Netherlands Society had carried on for children. Although the Society was formed only 11 years ago they had progressed at a rapid rate, and their prospects for the future were very encouraging. In dealing with the subject "Why are we vegetarians?" Dr. Meyroos made an earnest plea on behalf of the moral claims of vegetarianism. ... The speakers included Dr. Selss, Dr. Meyroos, Herr Dressler ....

-- and from the December 1908 issue of The Vegetarian Messenger:

Among the delegates who attended our first International gathering was Mr. A. Meyroos, LL.D, who represented the "Nederlands Vegetariër-Bond." He congratulates the Meeting on its good results, in as much as a provisional committee was formed, and a meeting for next year projected in Manchester, to which he looks forward with delight, and from which he hopes great things. Mr. Meyroos praises the good cordial understanding which reigned throughout the meetings, and also Mrs. Thesmar's excellent catering and homelike hospitality.

The March 1909 Messenger:

The International Vegetarian Union. - The Committee of the International Vegetarian Union (A.Meyroos, LL.D., Rotterdam ; Dr Nyssens, Brussels ; Dr Selss, Baden-Baden ; and Mr A, Broadbent, Manchester), met at Rotterdam, on the 14th February.

- and the December 1909 issue, reporting on the IVU Congress held in Manchester in October:

Dr Meyroos spoke for Holland, where vegetarianism is growing apace and commanding attention in the public press. Holland has good vegetarian restaurants, a sanitorium, a children's home, a good organ, De 'Bode, and has borne a child in the Vegetarian Society of the East Indies.

The February 1910 issue:

The Vegetarische 'Bode [Netherlands] contains Dr. Meyroos' glowing account. He evidently had a good time among us, and from what we remember of him, I should say he carries his own good spirits with him everywhere. Whether he liked that happy name some one found for him, or not, "the genial giant" certainly suits him. Dr. Meyroos is impressed with the English way of work. He holds that we all feel the ethical side of our movement (I hope he is right) but we do not neglect the business side of our organisation. The English business spirit pervades all. He refers to our stores, which are carried on at a profit, and withal do a grand service to our members, and we pay our officials in a fair manner, so that they can devote themselves to our service. Dr. Meyroos highly appreciates our hearty welcome to the visitors and the home-hospitality held out to them. This gave a sense of common, brotherly feeling, a hearty, living spirit "which they have carried home and should turn to profit. This meeting, " concludes Dr. Meyroos, "may well stand as a model for future International Congresses." The Dutch version of the paper which Dr. Meyroos read at Manchester appears in the current issue of the 'Bode.

Some extracts from the report of the 1923 Congress, held in Stockholm, Sweden:

Hugo Nolthenius at the 1923 Congress

... After extending a hearty welcome to all, he called upon the Hon. Congress Secretary, Madame Lombard (Stockholm), to read the Roll Call of the Delegates. Each rose as his or her name was called. The following is a full list : ... Holland - Professor Hugo Nolthenius (President of Dutch \/egetarian Society), Laren N.H. ; ...

... We give the full list of papers in alphabetical order :- ... C. De Clerq "The Miracle of the Sun,".. Hugo Nolthenius "Report for the Dutch Vegetarian Society," ...

... FINANCE. The Hon. Treasurer (H. Nolthenius) next proposed that the fee for membership be settled. ...

... General Secretary : Miss Hompes expressed her desire to retire. ... Miss Hompes proposed the Honorable Miss Ortt or the Hague as her successor and Miss Ortt was duly elected to the office of Honorary General Secretary of the International Vegetarian Union. She accepted the office. ... Hon. Treasurer: Mr. Hugo Nolthenius, of Laren, N. Holland, was re-elected. ...

Some extracts from the report of the 1926 Congress, held in London, England:

... Full particulars may be obtained from Miss M. J. C. Ortt (Secretary of the International Vegetarian Union), Haagweg 71, Delft Holland ; ... the delegates were introduced to the assembly, and the following is the order in which they responded to the roll call ... Mr. de Clercq and Prof. Nolthenius (Holland), ...

... A "National Day," on which meetings were held throughout each country, had been observed yearly in Denmark, Holland and Sweden. ...

... Professor NOLTHENIUS, the Hon. Treasurer, made a brief statement on the financial position of the International Vegetarian Union. ... The Honorary Secretary's report and the Honorary Treasurer's statement were duly approved and adopted. ... Miss Ortt intimated that she was not able to continue to act its Hon. Secretary, and her resignation was accepted with keen regret. A resolution of thanks for her excellent services was passed with acclamation. ... The following officers were elected ... Hon. Treasurer, Professor Hugo Nolthenius, Holland ; ...

Professor H. NOLTHENIUS (Holland) presided over the Thursday morning session ...At the Thursday afternoon session, presided over by Mr. ERNEST BELL, M.A., a paper was read by PROFESSOR H. NOLTHENIUS (Holland), on "The Ethical Basis of Vegetarianism.'' He paid tribute to the British as being among the earliest propagators by both speech and action, of the principles of vegetarianism, and also of the cause for humane treatment of animals. The sustaining power that lay behind life was love, and love forbade the killing of animals in order that their bodies might he used for food. Nature gave all animals the right to their existence, and that right should be mutually respected. In killing animals for food they interfered the course of nature. For animals this was a world of fear and death, but it was the duty of man, who claimed to he actuated by the principle of love, to shew that this was no longer necessary. ...

Some extracts from the report of the 1929 Congress, held in Steinschönau , Czechoslovakia:

Thirteen nations in all were represented at the Congress - ... Holland, .... As a result of the lamented death of Professor Nolthenius, elswhere referred to, Herr Egerod [Denmark] will now take over the position of Hon. Treasurer of the Union. ...

Some extracts from the report of the 1932 Congress, held in Berlin/Hamburg, Germany:

... A discussion on the three principal addresses of the day followed, and Mr. Borrendam [photo right] is to be congratulated upon the masterly manner in which, as chairman of so large and cosmopolitan gathering, he directed the course of events, under difficult circumstances, to so satisfactory a conclusion. ...

... A proposal from Holland resulted in the formation of a small international committee which would meet whenever there was important business to transact. The appointed committee consisted of the new President, Mr. C. J. van Borrendam (Amsterdam), ...

Some extracts from the report of the 1935 Congress, held in Daugard, Denmark:

There was a thoroughness about the work and play of the Congress that was due in no small measure to the part played by the officials responsible for the arrangements. Mr. Oluf Egerod, honorary treasurer of the International Vegetarian Union was a very popular leader, and he was ably supported by Mr. J. C. van Borrendam, president, ... Mr. C. J. van Borrendam (Holland) was re-elected president, ...

Some extracts from the report of the 1938 Congress, held in Norway:

Dr. Rogler, as Congress secretary, extended a welcome to Norway to all present and then called upon the President of the Union, Mr. C. J. VAN BORRENDAM (Holland) [photo right with Mrs van B. at the Congress] to address the assembly. ... Herr Durr (CzechoSlovakia), now in his 82nd year, who spoke in a charming manner, said that he had attended every Congress since the war and was looking forward to being in England in 1941 and Holland in 1944. ... [cancelled due to the next war....]

On Tuesday morning, after a short speech by the President, Mr. J. C. van Borrendam (Holland), the Congress banner was hoisted and delegates assembled for the business meeting of the Union, ... Mr. C. J. van Borrendam (Holland), was re-elected President, ...

Dutch delegates in 1947:

Mr G van Nederveen
& Mrs Bolt

Dr Kaayk & Mr Bolt

Mrs van Borrendam, Mr J.J.Kooymans, Miss R.J.Beuning, J.A.van Beemen

From reports of the 1947 IVU Congress, held at Stonehouse, England:

... The Scandinavian countries and Holland were strongly represented ...We hope that by 1950, when the next Congress is to be held in Holland, the food situation throughout Europe will be easier and that travel restrictions will be less irksome and restrictive. ...

... Mr. W. A. SIBLY, M.A. (Oxon.), J.P. Stonehouse, Glos., referred to the passing (during the war) of the Union's former President, Mr. C. J. van Borrendam, of Holland, ... The delegates stood in silence before continuing the proceedings.

... Brief speeches were made by the overseas delegates - Mr. G. van Nederveen, as President of the Dutch Vegetarian Society, invited the Union to hold its next Congress in 1950 in Holland. ... He was followed by ... Mr. J. H. Bolt (Holland). ...

... Mementos of the Centenary of The Vegetarian Society [UK] were presented from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Holland, ...

... The business included reports from representatives ofSocieties affiliated to the I.V.U., and were given by ... Dr. T. Kaayk (Holland), ...

... Introduced by Mr. J. H. BOLT (Holland), consideration was given to the publication of an international vegetarian magazine, ....

... An important report was read by Mr. J. H. BOLT (Holland), Hon. Secretary of the I.V.U., on his enquiries through affiliated Societies regarding the position of Vegetarianism in wartime. ...

... as Mr. J. H. BOLT (Holland) was unable to continue as Hon. Secretary, Mr. KAJ DESSAU (Denmark) was unanimously elected. ...

...Mr. J. H BOLT (Holland) expressed the thanks and appreciation of those present for the opportunity of meeting together in London.... [refers to a post-congress meeting]

From the Vegetarian World Forum, Spring 1948:

Vegetarianism in Holland recently suffered a great loss on the retirement of Mr. Felix Ortt, who for half a century has been the spiritual leader of the movement.
A remarkable man, scientist, scholar and prolific writer, the flow of ideas and books from his lonely country house have nourished all those who stand for a better life, protection of animals, new medicine, and anti-vivisection. His magazine (The Messenger) is being continued, and it is hoped that it will become an important feature in the development of food reform, hygiene, health and spiritual unfoldment.
A group of members are co-operating to establish a Vegetarian Centre to provide a home for old folks, a camping ground, social centre and clinic. The scheme is taking shape and over £7,000 has already been collected.
A committee has been formed to prepare for an International Congress in 1949 or 1950.
J. H. BOLT, Amersfoort, Piersonlaan 14.

From the IVU Executive Committee meeting, October 22, 1950, in Manchester, England:

CENTRAL INSTITUTE IN HOLLAND Letters were submitted from Mr.van Nederveen and Mr.T.Hagtinius, (Holland), relative to the work of the Central Institute at Haarlem and of its co-operation with the I.V.U. Whilst viewing the suggestions with sympathy, time did not permit of full consideration of the possibilities envisaged and the matter was therefore deferred until the next meeting of the Executive Committee.

1958 - The Vegetarian World Forum, July 1958, carried a complete list of IVU " Affiliated Societies - and others in association with the I.V.U." These included:
- Nederlandsche Vegetariersbond, Mej. H. Pothoff, Schouwtjeslaan 38, Haarlem, Holland
- De Jonge Vegetariers, Mr. H. Olff, Kapjeswelle 1, Deventer, Holland.

More World Congresses:

The Nederlandse Vegetariërs-Bond today can be found at: (in Dutch)

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