Deze website maakt gebruik van cookies die noodzakelijk zijn om de website zo goed mogelijk te laten functioneren. Klik op "Akkoord" als je akkoord gaat met het gebruik van cookies, klik op "Aanpassen" voor meer informatie en om zelf te bepalen welke cookies worden geplaatst.
Johannes van den Bosch
Johannes van den Bosch (1780-1844) served as a lieutenant colonel during the Batavian-French period in the Dutch East Indies. He was the co-founder of the Colonies of Benevolence and that meant he played an important role in the history of the Netherlands and Belgium.
Van den Bosch was born in Herwijnen on 2 February 1780. When he was seventeen, he was given the rank of second lieutenant of the engineers. Young Van den Bosch wished to see the world. At his request, he was sent to the Dutch East Indies a year later. He resides on his own estate near Batavian and is involved with land cultivation. This experience significantly influences his ideas regarding the extent to which people and land can be engineered, which he later puts into practice in Drenthe.
Society of Benevolence
After its liberation from the French, poverty in the Netherlands was widespread. Seeing all the suffering and inspired by his experiences in Batavia, Van den Bosch, together with a group of socially engaged intellectuals, civil servants, and businessmen, decides to found the Society of Benevolence. His Society creates seven Colonies of Benevolence in the east of the Netherlands and in what is Kempen in Belgium today. Two free Colonies are founded in Drenthe, as well as an unfree Colony. In the Colonies, orphans, poor families, and beggars are given a place to live and are taught how to work the land.
The Potential of Social Engineering
Van den Bosch believes that 'work, education, and maintenance' will lift up the poor to 'higher civilisation, enlightenment, and benevolence'. He firmly believes that everyone is responsible for their own fortunes and therefore that of the fortune of the people in general. In short, his Colonies are an experiment in social engineering. The unique 'reform methodology' receives national and international attention. Reality showed that his ideas did not have the desired effect. Life in the Colonies was hard and the mortality rate was high. It turned out to be impossible for the 'paupers' to climb up the social ladder.
Van den Bosch was involved with the management of his Colonies until he left for the Dutch East Indies again in 1827. In 1834 he became the first minister of Colonies. A year later he was ennobled by King William I and given the title of baron. He even became a count in 1839. Until his death in 1842, Van den Bosch was a member of the Dutch Lower House of Parliament.