|De Colve XV – One more article and summary in English of some other articles|
My first visit to the Kolff Family day was in 2008, where I was warmly welcomed. Therefore I came again in 2009.
I studied Industrial Design in Hamburg where I had a good time with my grandmother Olga-Maria in the years before she died in 1976. Now I am working as an industrial-design teacher.
The idea of visiting the Family Days is very old. It was first the idea of my grandmother Olga-Maria Breymann, born Kolff, who came from New York and lived in Wentorf near Hamburg, Germany. Her father is Cornelius Gertrudus Kolff. Then there was the idea of visiting the Family Day with my father Cornelius Kolff Breymann, who lives in Chardonne on Lake Geneva, Switzerland. But it never happened. Finally I made the decision and just did it.
Granny Olga-Maria was always full of family stories and she knew about all the connections. Later I recieved the family documents and I read some of the short stories of great-grandpa Kolff: “A Staten Island boy in Holland” and one about his education as an export-merchant around 1877 in Lübeck, Germany. It is an interesting story, especially for me, as I have been trained as an export-merchant in Hamburg in 1970 (I was 23 at that time), so 100 years later in another great Hanse-City.
Years later when the internet was new, I researched the name KOLFF and looked for an email address to come into contact with one of the family members. I found an email address and wrote: “My father is Cornelius Kolff Breymann, my grandmother is Olga-Maria Breymann, born Kolff, from Wentorf near Hamburg, my great-grandfather is Cornelius Gertrudus Kolff from Staten Island, New York and I just want to say hallo to a Kolff.” I got a quick answer: “Yes, I know your father and your grandmother and nice to hear from you.” It was Marius Kolff who replied. His first visit abroad had been to Wentorf to see my grandmother (see note).
As you already know, my freat-grandfather Cornelius Gertrudus Kolff moved from New York to Lübeck as a child. He married a German wife in Hamburg and they went back to New York. His daughter Olga-Maria married my grandfather, an export-merchant from Hamburg and they lived close to Hamburg, in Wentorf. My daughter Claire again married an American from Maryland and they lived in Washington DC for five years. They just came back to Europe in December of last year and are now living in Vicenza, Italy, with their one year old daughter Victoria.
I am married to Barbara and have two children: Claire and Christopher.
The CBCE branch of the family has crossed the Atlantic Ocean a lot of times for love; moreover great-grandpa Kolff always came to see his cousins in The Netherlands.
We are curious what my grand-daughter Victoria will do one day… My love to all the Kolffs: if one of you is visiting the Eifel region, please contact me.
Cornelius Kolff Breymann (CBCE XVw2
The Association has sent out Christmas cards for season’s greetings, to remind you of the Family Day, and to let those members of the family, who always participated, but aren’t able to do so any longer, know that we have not forgotten them! Participation in the Family Day increases gradually. The programme is suitable for all ages and subsidized by the Association to enable all to come. A call to everyone inside Holland, but also all of the Kolff’s outside Holland. If you are here: come and join us on that day. If you are not here, why not make it one of your highlights of a visit to Holland and Europe!
Marius reflects on him being a citizen of The Hague. Most of his brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, moved elsewhere, but he stayed and opened his house for international guests ranging from expatriates to refugees. The Hague is a very international city and Marius thrives in that environment. Walking his dog in the many parks he has to speak all kind of languages while the dogs only have to use one. He reflects on early visits to town (Marius grew up in residential Wassenaar, North of The Hague) by tramway, or the first time driving a car by himself, in his grandmothers’ car, which he dented then. How he watched the queens’ carriages from his other grandmothers’ office on the beautiful Lange Voorhout, where she worked for the Red Cross. How he later also came to work on that Lange Voorhout at the chancellery of the Order of St. John. And as director of CAS International to talk about bullfights with the Spanish Ambassador in his office next door to the chancellery, where they greeted him saying: “Don’t we know you? We always saw you walking with your dog here on the Lange Voorhout.” Marius ends with his activities as a participating citizen, not always easy, but how rewarding!
Our website www.kolff.nl is one of the tools we have to maintain the bonds within our extended family. The site is also an important database with historical details and other information on the Kolffs. Recently all pages were set to w3c standard for xhtml. In the article a table stating the visitors (‘bezoekers’) is included. Not high numbers however sufficient for an association such as ours. The webmaster asks for help: he started the site when he was secretary of the Association. He seeks for others with new ideas to help him – or even take over. Now that he is president of the Association he finds it somewhat strange that such an important tool, as described above, is solely in his hands.
All of the three above articles and the transpations are by Marius Kolff (CBCD XVIIw4)
other main arcticles already appear here at De Colve XV, one above and two seperately.
Note: It was my first visit abroad travelling all by myself, I must have been 16 years of age at my first visit to ‘cousins’ Olga-Maria and her husband William. I visited them a few more times after that.