Family reunion April, 16 (and 17) 2011

We are preparing the next reunion on April 16th 2011. Initially the board planned a reunion this year, but for several reasons this was not feasible. The concept program will be here later this year. If you would like to subscribe allready, please feel free to do so.

Family reunion April 8, 2006

Five years after the previous reunion the Boissevain Foundation organised the Family reunion on Saturday 8 April 2006. The reunion played attention to the shipping and the role which has played our family in this in the nineteenth century. Below you can see an photo impression of the reunion.




charles en jan

Willem wf en hugo


Foto's :

Pauline Prior fotografie en tekst

Have a look at the list of participants at the 2006 reunion.

The programme of the family reunion in 2006 was as follows:


Reception shipping museum (Kattenburgerplein 1, Amsterdam)


Guided tour through the museum by Mr H. Dessens (specifically over the nineteenth century, then members of our family a prominent role played in the shipping history, like in the sail speed shipping company and the steam shipping in the Netherlands, simultaneously:

Child activity on the VOC ship


Museum visit and lunch (on own occasion)


Departure to Maison Descartes by canal boat


Reunion Maison Descartes (Vijzelgracht 2A, Amsterdam)


Child programme: puppet theatre and making music with Theatre Pierlala




End of program

For participation to the reunion the folowing contribution is asked:

Guided tour and boattrip


€ 15

Child activity and boattrip


€ 5

Reunion Maison Descartes


€ 15



€ 5



€ 25



€ 10

Boissevain Tie


€ 5

Familyreunion April 7, 2001

Our family meeting in Amsterdam on Saturday April 7, 2001 was a new record. More than 140 relatives attended, their ages varying from 4 weeks to 86 years. Among them about 30 from the USA, the UK, Denmark, France Switzerland and Israel. The program started with a cruise by boat through the famous canals of Amsterdam, followed by a pleasant gathering in Maison Descartes, the former Walloon Hospice, an orphanage and also a home for the aged. The undersigned wrote an article about its history in the previous edition of the Boissevain-Bulletin. The large number of participants – much more than expected – induced some modifications in the planning. Two boats were needed instead of one. And the idea of extending the meeting by those who wished to do so by dining together in a nearby restaurant, as after previous reunions, had to be abandoned as almost seventy people expressed the wish to take part. Fortunately Maison Descartes was willing to prolong our stay with a couple of hours. Thus we could, by using a catering service, dine there and continue our pleasant reunion.

The reunion started at a pier near Central Station. As there are several piers with many canal boats and since not all family members knew each other some relatives were not certain if they were at the right meeting place. Moreover, several participants underestimated the parking problems in the city, resulting in some delay in the planned departure. The cruise lasted more than 1 ½ hours. The route was as follows: IJ, Prinsengracht, Brouwersgracht, Keizersgracht, Leidsegracht, Herengracht up to the Brouwersgracht and back, Leidsegracht, continuing along Keizersgracht, Reguliersgracht, Prinsengracht and ended shortly after the Vijzelgracht. Disembarkment was near Maison Descartes. Somewhat more laborious than the embarkation, because a special landing stage was lacking and the embankment was rather high. But everybody came ashore. Unfortunately, just at that moment we were treated to a short rain shower. And if that was not enough, the street in front of Maison Descartes was broken up, so that the entry could only be reached by sand, mud and a small platform. It didn`t spoil the atmosphere however, and inside the building tea, coffee, (soft) drinks and nibbles were awaiting.

A canal cruise in Amsterdam is always fascinating, also for those who did it before. The large variety of monumental, stately and elegant mansions with different façades and other interesting architecture and ornaments, as well as the many (arched)bridges, is always very much worth looking at. The time of year worked in our favour because most trees were still without leaves. During the cruise the focus was on the Herengracht and Keizersgracht where many of our ancestors lived and worked. Guides on the two boats were Ernst (NP p111) and Bob (NP p 74). They told us a thing or two about the Boissevain-houses (along our route more than 45!) and their tenants. Because of the many foreign participants they spoke both in Dutch and English.

The first two generations Boissevain in the Netherlands (Lucas and Jérémie) had a rough time financially and their housing conditions were rather poor (apart from Jérémies years as “père” = father of the Walloon Hospice). With the third generation, Gédéon Jérémie the 1st from whom we all descend, things were going much better. He was admitted to citizenship which entitled him to certain municipal welfare facilities. He could afford to inhabit a large mansion along the Keizersgracht. His two sons of the fourth generation – Daniël the 1st and Henri Jean – further climbed the social economic ladder. In particular during the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries descendants of the former in the fifth, sixth and seventh generations played a prominent part in Amsterdam in overseas commerce, shipping, financial business and in politics. They became prominent tenants of the “ring of canals” (“grachtengordel”). The inhabitation of these large premises wasn`t a cushy job. The mansions usually consist of five or six stories and often have 15 to 40 rooms, mostly with a large hall as a living room. Many corridors were long and covered with marble. The staircases were narrow, steep and winding, hampering carrying goods. This is why most houses have a hoisting beam at the roof which are still used today.

From the boats only the outside of the mansions was visible. However, one of our relatives – Kim Buck-Boissevain from the USA – had the opportunity two days before the reunion to visit the house of her grandparents, where her father Tice (as well as her aunt Mia and other aunts) spent his youth. She was deeply impressed by the interior. Apparently not much had been changed. The cruise passed by two large mansions, birthplaces of two participants – Mia Canters-Boissevain and Sylvia de Groot-Boissevain – where they lived till they turned fourteen years old in 1940. Nowadays there are still two Boissevains living along the canals, Marianne and Aviva, albeit in a more modest way than previous generations. We past by their homes and Aviva participated in a distinctive way in the first part of the program. From her apartment she waved enthousiastically with a large cloth embroidered with the Boissevain coat-of-arms.

In Maison Descartes chairman Charles held a short speech of welcome. He rejoiced at the large attendance, also from abroad. To most participants the gathering marked new contacts with relatives they do not see often. In one case even the surprising encounter of the two half brothers Robert and Daniël who had never met each other before! A list was available on which the participants were grouped by family branch. Nine branches (starting after the sixth generation) were represented. Each participant had a name tag with different coloured stickers per branch. That facilitated a photo session per branch during the reunion. The result is shown below

Gulian, David, Alexander, David en Caroline,Sebastiaan, Robin, Daniël, Lucas, Philippe en Laurens

Willem Frederik Lamoraal (1852-1919) Auguste Charles Hugo (1864-1929)

Charles (1842-1927, NP p 62)

Jan (1836-1904, NP p52)
Willem (NP p 107)

Athanase Adolphe Henri (1843-1921, NP p89)

 Louis Daniël (1848-1916, NP p 91 en Louis Daniël l (1852-1921, NP p 127)

There was a special program for the kids. In a separate space they were entertained by the puppet theatre “Pierlala”. Obviously they enjoyed themselves very much and had a good time. Of course the reunion was too short and many participants felt sorry to have had so little time to talk to each other. Yet, altogether the reunion was an outstanding success.

Robert Lucas (Bob) Boissevain, Heemstede (NP p 74)