Harry Brinsen, Principal of the School at Harstige

A new episode of Historisch Heusden written by Bart Bayard and this time Part 110 of Historisch Heusden is about Harrie Prinsen, the school principal at Haarsteeg. Echo of the South wrote in its August 11, 1950 issue: “Harstige – Changing street names.

The house numbers have now begun to change, as determined by a recent municipal council decision. The various streets underwent the following change, De Keiweg has changed to Meester Prinsenstraat, henceforth Hoeksestraat will bear the name Haarsteegseweg and Grotestraat Haarsteegsestraat. Hoge Maasdijk is divided into two different names, the right part being called Inlaagdijk, while the left part will henceforth be called Oude Haven: De Grintweg changed to Heusdenseweg. Het Zand and Hoeven Village have retained their original name.” But who is this Mr. Brinsen actually?

Harry Brinsen (1855-1937).

the teacher
Hendrikus Prinsen, better known as Harry, was born on April 7, 1855 in Hilvarenbeck. He was barely four years old when his mother died. An uncle and aunt are responsible for upbringing who have no children. Uncle is a school principal in Ersel. After primary school, Harry also decided to enter education and already on March 2, 1874, he received the certificate of an assistant teacher. As such, he worked at the primary schools in Hilvarenbeek, Newquayk, Oss and at the Rijkslaerse School in Nijmegen. In 1883 he came to Harstige and became the principal of the public school. He is also committed to the Rijksnormaalschool in Heusden (Teaching Teachers), where he has been teaching for over 32 years. On May 7, 1883 he married Elizabeth Damen (* Hilvarenbeck, 10.12.1853 † Haarsteeg, 24.05.1914). The couple started a boarding school for boys in Harstige. This school lasts only fifteen years due to the rapid expansion of the family to ten children and Elizabeth’s poor health.

Boys’ school in Haarsteeg-Hedikhuizen
Until 1935, the northern part of Haarsteeg belonged to the municipality of Hedikhuizen. In this part of the village, from the middle of the seventeenth centurye From the century to 1908 it was a public school for boys and girls and from 1908 to 1923 it was a public school for boys. But due to the Elementary Education Act 1920, private schools are being set up. Then in 1923 the public school became a Roman Catholic school for boys.

From the seventeenth century, the school was located in the “Capelle” near Laan van Onsenoort, but in 1828 a new building was built on the present Haarsteegsestraat. Prinsen studied here for another two years, because in 1885 a new building was built in the master’s building. Prinsenstraat. When the public school became a Roman Catholic Boys’ School in 1923, Brinsen retired after forty years at the age of 68. After his honorable discharge he moves to Flegemin and goes to live with his daughter Joe, but he will not rest on his laurels.

Prinsen has a close affinity with agriculture and realizes that there is something to be done about the poverty of the peasants. In 1890 he co-founded 21e Department of Agriculture Society, a Protestant organization. He regularly gives lectures on hop cultivation, but also ensures that lectures are given by national consultants. He is one of the 15 founders of the Haarsteeg butter factory “Coöperatieve Vereniging NATURA” in 1896. But in 1904 he came into conflict with the “messenger peasant” and Father Gerlakus van den Elsen, when all Harstige farmers chose the Catholic and Cooperative Institute NCB and not the Society of Agriculture. In 1906 he became the correspondent of the Ministry of Agriculture by royal decree. In 1916 he was also a co-founder of the horticultural associations Vlijmen en Omstreken and Veilingvereniging Vlijmen en Omstreken.

Old teachers and a schoolhouse from 1828 on the Haarsteegsestraat next to the Café De Harmonie

Prinsen has been chairman of the Health Committee since 1902, which led to the creation of the Wit-Gele Kruis in Haarsteeg. This department means a lot in the village for patient care and health care. Then there was also the consulting office. In 1923 he became president of the Coordinator of St. Cacilia in Harstige and the Harmony Society of Langstraat.

As the “mayor” of Harstige and Hedikhuizen, Brinsen and his son Claudius, who later became mayor of Rosendal and Breda, participated extensively in the business of the city council in Hedikhuizen. Several actions led to sessions in the State Council. Queen Commissioner Van Forest Tot Forest wrote in his visit report of 15 June 1923: “The day-to-day administration will consist of the mayor and two men of the opposition from September. This promises a lot of effort and a lot of struggle. The lords of the opposition have nothing to do with Gedeeb. States, nothing with the Queen’s commissioner, nothing with the supreme government in The Hague: they rule the municipality. Board meetings have so far been a disgrace; What does the future hold? All the misery in Hedikhuizen is the result of the work and rooting of the former headmaster Prinsen; He now lives in Flegmen, but remains heavily involved in Hedikhuizen’s business.

Prinsen has also become a member of Vlijmen City Council and is working hard towards reorganizing the municipality. Until 1935, Haarsteeg was part of at least four municipalities; Hedikhuizen, Herpt & Bern, Nieuwkuijk, and Vlijmen. In that year, almost the entire village of the church – with the exception of a piece of Hoeven – was transferred to Vlijmen. In old age he also became a member of the board of directors of the Orange Association.

Public Primary School for Boys from 1885, after 1923 RK Boys’ School at Mr. Prinsenstraat. The mansion on the right has long been the residence of Harry Brinson and a boarding school.

To pull
Due to a serious illness that makes it difficult for him to walk, he has to withdraw from public life. Harry Brinsen died on May 14, 1937, at the age of 82. His prayer card reads: “He died in a happy old age, rich in days, but also rich in honor.” Adorned with wisdom, insight and deliberation. He devoted his whole life to educating young people. Those who teach others will shine like stars in the sky. He has greatly eased word and deed to countless people.

Bart Bird

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