The only Belgian who (alive) remained in The Netherlands






On October 9, 1914, Henri Luycks, along with 40,000 other soldiers withdrew from the city of Antwerp bound for The Netherlands. Upon arrival the surprise was great. The soldiers were disarmed and placed in internment camps.

Henri was born in Mol on February 14, 1891. He was a soldier in the First Company of the fortress artillery of Antwerpen.





He was housed in a camp in the village of Rijs. Today Rijs is a parrish of the village De Friese Meren in Friesland. It barely counts 173 inhabitants. It lies on the northeast side of the Rijsterbos on the road Oudemirdum-Hemelum.


The life story of Henri Luyckx was described by his then 80 year old daughter Alie in 1998 in a Dutch television documentary that reaired recently.






Alie's grandparents had a shop in Gaaikema Street in Balk, a neighboring village of Rijs. The young soldiers had soon discovered a beautiful lady store clerk at the counter. Sibbeltje Groenewold helped in the shop of her parents and saw the young Belgian men regularly, probably more than necessary, to buy shoe polish, darning needles and other attributes.


With one of them, after a while, she did get a strange feeling and in 1916 she finally fell for Henri Luyckx. Probably not without a lot of opposition from her parents.


Before they were married on December 2, 1916, a few obstacles had indeed to be cleaned up. Henri was Catholic (Roman, as it was called in Friesland) and Sibbeltje was Reformed (Protestant as they called in Mol). But love overcame all obstacles and Henri was literally “reformed”.





After four long years of war, the internees were able to return to the liberated Belgium. The plans were that Henri would go first and that Sibbeltje would follow whenever Henri had everything ready for his family. But Sibbeltje looked very disappointing to go to Belgium. For her the situation would be quite different. In Belgium everyone was Roman and Henri was now reformed. Eventually, she did not dare to emigrate. For her it was a bigger step to go to Belgium than for Henri to stay in Balk.


So they remained in Friesland and went to live with the parents of Sibbeltje, where they eventually took over the business and Henri became a shopkeeper.





Even after the war, Henri's mother was still not very happy with that marriage. She went to visit her son’s family in Friesland. She returned home with a satisfied feeling because her daughter-in-law was a good musician, she played the organ flawlessly, and the grandchildren, whom had already been born, sang simple nursery rhymes. Henri had landed well. Grandma didn't ​worry anymore.


So Henri Luyckx was the only Belgian who (alive) remained in The Netherlands.






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