Generation X - The Legacy of Johannes Anthonius

As already mentioned on the main page about generation X, the industrial revolution in the Netherlands started halfway the 19th century. But this revolution did not only concern innovations in science and technology. There were also cultural landslides, which came to expression through the arts and politics. For centuries, ever since the reformation and iconoclasm, it had been impossible for Roman Catholics to hold important social positions in the Netherlands. Roman Catholic services were officially forbidden. The Dutch King Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (1806-1810), a brother of the French emperor, settled by law that all religions were equal. And in 1840 the city of Utrecht decided that in the Catharine Church, originally part of the Carmelites monastery, public services were allowed. This church was given back to the Catholic community as the only one of the medieval churches in Utrecht.

The emancipation of the Roman Catholics started to took shape seriously after the revision of the Constitution (Thorbecke 1848) and after the restoration of the episcopal hierarchy (papal bull of 4 March 1853). Monsignor Joannes Zwijsen (1794-1877) was the first archbishop of Utrecht since the reformation and his chair was in the St Catharine Church, from then on cathedral of the archdiocese. The interior was redecorated in neo-Gothic style. Josephus Albertus Alberdingk Thijm (1820-1889), well-known writer and professor of history of art, has strongly influenced the development of the neo-Gothic style in the Netherlands. An important architect was Petrus Josephus Hubertus Cuypers (Pierre), the husband of Alberdingk Thijm's sister. His style is labeled as 'School of Amsterdam' and resulted in famous Amsterdam buildings like the Amsterdam Central Station and Rijksmuseum.

How different was the neo-Gothic development in Utrecht. Gerardus Wilhelminus van Heukelum (1834-1910), since about 1859 chaplain of the St Catharine Cathedral, had clear ideas about neo-Gothic church art. Thanks to his good relation with archbishop Andreas Ignatius Schaepman (1815-1882), he was allowed to put his ideas into practice and renovate the cathedral. Van Heukelum also founded the St Bernulphus Guild in 1869, in first instance a society only for priests, but later for other Roman Catholics as well, to promote Christian art designed in neo-Gothic style. Within the archbishopric of Utrecht the churches were built after the designs of architect Wilhelm Victor Alfred Tepe (Amsterdam 1840-Düsseldorf 1920), member of the guild and also an important neo-Gothical architect. His designs were based on the Nederrijns (Low Rhenisch) neo-Gothic style from the 15th and 16th century and are classified as 'School of Utrecht'. Between 1871 and 1905 Tepe built around 70 churches and had a monopoly until 1882. The interiors were mostly created by other artists from the guild: the sculptor and art-painter Friedrich Wilhelm Mengelberg (Cologne 1837-Utrecht 1919), the constructor of church organs Michaël Maarschalkerweerd (Utrecht 1838-1915), the goldsmith Gerardus Bartholomeus Brom (Amersfoort 1831-Utrecht 1882), the head of the Koninklijke Utrechtsche Fabriek van Zilverwerken (Royal Utrecht Factory of Silverware) Anthonie Begeer (Gouda 1856-Weiser Hirsch 1910) and the stained-glass windows maker Heinrich Geuer (Cologne 1841-1904). Only after the death of archbishop Schaepman other architects got a change. Gerardus Bartholomeus Brom worked his way up from coppersmith to goldsmith and founded in 1857 his own company at the Springweg in Utrecht as manufacturer of church ornaments and things like church utensils in neo-Gothic style. Gerard died in 1882 and the business was succeeded by the oldest son of Gerard, called Jan Hendrik Brom, a gifted artist.

Johannes Anthonius van Gorkom (Jan) had close ties to this set of Roman Catholic artists who were involved with the construction of the Roman Catholic churches. His branch of the Van Gorkom family was in particular close friends with the Mengelberg family. As happened human wise, this friendship was still perceptible a generation further. Willem Mengelberg, famous conductor and son of Friedrich Wilhelm, was a sort of engaged to Elisabeth Adriana van Gorkom, daughter of Johannes Anthonius. They stayed close friends during their lives. Ludovicus Johannes Cornelis van Gorkom (Louis), a son of Johannes Anthonius, was close friends with Jesuit Eduard Mengelberg, younger brother of Willem. Son Johannes Petrus Jozephus (Jan) van Gorkom married in 1893 Clasina Maria Brom, daughter of the goldsmith Gerardus Bartholomeus, that other representative of the Dutch Roman-Catholic renaissance.

An other initiator was without doubt Herman Johannes Aloysius Maria Schaepman (Tubbergen 1844-Rome 1903), priest, writer, historian and, from 1880 on, politician (not to be confused with the archbishop Andreas Schaepman). Herman Schaepman was professor at the Major Seminary in Rijssenburg, where Gisbert Brom—another son of Gerardus Bartholomeus—studied and who got his lessons from him. Gisbert Brom (1864-1915) went to the seminary at the age of 13. Eduard Brom (1862-1935), an older brother of Gisbert, was a poet. Gerardus Bartholomeus Brom (Gerard, 1882-1959) was named after his father and born three weeks after his father's death. The cultural and intellectual atmosphere within the Brom family affected him also and he became a famous art historian.

Expressions of the reborn cultural and social Roman Catholic consciousness are the many Catholic societies and magazines that were founded. In particular one must be quoted. On one of the meetings of a group of esthetics in Berg en Dal the magazine Van Onsen Tijd (Of Our Time) was founded, together with the Klarenbeekse Club, a collection of priests and non-priests, of whom Gisbert Brom can be considered the founder. Also Jan van Gorkom was present. Jan was co-founder of the Roman Catholic student association 'Veritas' as well. Catholic students were impressed and in 1902 the first edition of Annuarium der R.K. Studentenvereenigingen (Yearbook of Roman Catholic Student Associations) appeared. Originators were, among others, Gerard Brom and Louis van Gorkom. Gerard and Louis were both good friends. Gerard Brom promoted in his publications the need of an own Roman Catholic university and he and Louis took part in the realization of its foundation. Finally, on 7 February 1923 the Roman Catholic University of Nijmegen, nowadays called Radboud University, was a fact. This event can be considered to be the crown on the emancipation of the Roman Catholics. Gerard Brom got a position as professor of history of art. Louis was very close to getting a position at the university as well.

Until 1897 no national political organization of Roman Catholics had existed. But then a national organization of Roman Catholic electoral associations was realized. Out of this organization emerged the Algemeene Bond voor RK kiesverenigingen (General Union of Roman Catholic Electoral Associations), which based its ideology on a program designed by Herman Schaepman, which was full of Biblical notions. Aim was to realise equal financial support for educational institutions, social security, compulsory voting and changes in the legislation for better labour conditions. From 1918 onwards the Union was represented in parliament. In the year 1926 the name was changed into Rooms-Katholieke Staatspartij (RKSP, Roman Catholic State Party). After the Second World War the name was changed into Katholieke Volkspartij (KVP, Catholic People's Party).

As a result of the industrial revolution and the often bad situation of the labourers it was inevitable that also the labourers joined forces, which resulted in political changes as well. In 1881 the Sociaal-Democratisch Bond (SDB; Social-Democratic Union) was founded. Due to a split in 1894, the Sociaal Democratische Arbeiders Partij (SDAP; Social-Democratic Labourers Party) came into existence. After World War II the SDAP and two othert parties combined into the Partij van de Arbeid (PvdA, Labour Party). Willem Drees was fractievoorzitter (chairman of the party's representation in parliament), starting in 1939.

Marinus van der Goes van Naters In this context we should mention Esquire dr. Marinus van der Goes van Naters as he was the father-in-law of Lodewijk Hendrik Johannes Baptist van Gorkom, a grandson of Jan van Gorkom and son of Louis van Gorkom. Van der Goes van Naters was born in Nijmegen on 21 December 1900 and studied law at Leiden University. He became a member of the SDAP during the 1930s, was a MP for SDAP and PvdA (until 1967) and succeeded Willem Drees as chairman. He was forced, however, to resign on 15 January 1951 because of a conflict about New Guinea (half of which was Dutch at the time). He was a member of the European Parliament until 1967 and dedicated himself especially to European integration and development co-operation of the poor countries. After his pension he always remained an active member of the party. He died on 12 February 2005 at the age of 104. His son-in-law Lodewijk van Gorkom, former ambassador and grandson of Johannes Anthonius, is mentioned on the page about generation XI.

To the right: Marinus van der Goes van Naters. Source:

Read more (in Dutch) about Van der Goes van Naters on and


On this page


Children of Johannes Anthonius and Johanna Elisabeth Smorenburg (generation IX-j38)
Johannes Anthonius was a son of Petrus Franciscus van Gorkom and Josephine Garjeanne (VIII-p02) and grandson of Jan van Gorkom and Alijda Maria Kreilkamp (VII-j49).

X-j68. Johannes Petrus Jozephus
Johannes Petrus Jozephus (Jan) was born in Utrecht on 30 January 1868. He was a doctor of medicine and lived in Arnhem, where he had his general practice. He married Clasina Maria Brom in Utrecht on 25 May 1893. She was born in Utrecht on 24 May 1868 and daughter of Gerardus Bartholomeus Brom and Johanna Catharina Kok. In the introductory story at the top of this page already much is told about the involvement of Jan and his family in the emnacipation of Roman Catholic culture. Jan himself was a co-founder of the Roman Catholic student association Veritas in Utrecht.

Families Brom and Van Gorkom

X-p69. Petrus Johannes
Petrus Johannes was born on 4 February 1869 and died on 17 November 1870.

X-j70. Josephine Elisabeth Agnes Jacoba
Josephine, known as Jo, was born on 13 March 1870. On 7 October 1882 she moved to Bussum and returned to Utrecht again on 26 September 1885. She and her youngest brother Piet were the last generation of Van Gorkoms who succeeded their parents in the antique store in Lange Nieuwstraat. The business was closed at some time after 1915.

X-e71. Elisabeth Adriana
Elisabeth (Betsy) was born in Utrecht on 30 September 1871. She moved to Bussum on the same date as her elder sister, but returned a year later than her sister, on 24 September 1886. According to a story in the family, she was more or less engaged to Joseph Wilhelm Mengelberg, the famous conductor, son of Friedrich Wilhelm Mengelberg. Read for more information about him (in Dutch). Betsy was director of the jewelry store of Begeer in Amsterdam.

X-p72. Petrus Franciscus
Petrus Franciscus was born on 20 December 1872. A few days later he died, on 23 December.

X-a74. Adèle Johanna
Adèle was another child that soon died. She was born on 22 January 1874 and died, 7 days old, on 29 January.

X-p75. Petrus Cornelis Johannes
Petrus Cornelis was born in Utrecht on 10 December 1875. He moved to Kerkrade (Province of Limburg) on 8 October 1888. He died in Gent, Belgium, on 1 February 1951.

X-a79. Anna Maria
Anna Maria was born in Utrecht on 21 January 1879. Like her two elder sisters, she moved to Bussum on 26 September 1890. The three sisters probably went to Bussum for boarding school. She married Theodorus Strengers in Utrecht on 28 April 1908, a doctor of chemistry. He was born in Nieuwer-Amstel on 19 February 1879 and was son of Theodorus Gerardus Strengers and Anna Maria ter Hooren. The brothers of Anna Maria, Johannes Petrus Jozephus and Ludovicus Johannes Cornelis, were two of the witnesses at the marriage.

Maria van Dijk and her parents X-l81. Ludovicus Johannes Cornelis
Ludovicus, known as Louis, was the youngest child of this family and was born in Utrecht on 2 April 1881. He married in Amsterdam on 10 April 1912 Maria Theresia van Dijk, daughter of Johannes Baptista van Dijk, distiller of liqueur, and Adriana Cornelia Maria Siewe. She was some four years younger than Louis. Johannes Baptista van Dijk, father-in-law of Louis, was also member of the City Council of Amsterdam (1901-1907) and member of the Tweede Kamer (national parliament) for the Roman Catholic Algemeene Bond and RKSP from 1918 until 1929. More can be found on

Photo left: Maria Theresia van Dijk and her parents.

Louis studied law at the University of Utrecht and finished his studies in 1909. He studied literature as well and wrote a thesis called De beteekenis van den Fransch-Duitschen oorlog 1870-1871 (The meaning of the French-German war 1870-1871) for which he obtained the degree of Doctor in literature and Philosophy on 28 October 1927. He was a teacher of history and since 1921 also vice-principal at the Stedelijk Gymnasium in 's-Hertogenbosch. Louis wrote numerous articles about historical matters. A personal and touching one was published a few month before his death, called Het genot van ouder worden (The pleasure of growing old). In 1923 Louis was co-founder of the Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen, since 2004 called Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. He died in 's-Hertogenbosch on 1 June 1945, his wife died in 1964. Their six children are mentioned on the page about generation XI.

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