The Founding of the Boerenleenbank Geldrop

Prosperity is woven

The current Rabobank Geldrop-Heeze-Sterksel was the first Boerenleenbank in the Netherlands (1).

Shortly after the founding of the Boerenbond in 1896, Father Van den Elsen advised that credit and savings banks should be established as soon as possible. For Van den Elsen, the establishment was not only necessary to protect the peasants from the money usurers, but also as a religious and moral goal, because it promoted 'thrift, charity, industriousness and moderation'. He managed to win over the farmers by means of lectures. On March 14, 1897, he gave a lecture in Geldrop about the use of loan banks.

In order to win over the well-to-do farmers, two solid sureties were required for each loan and an indivisible reserve fund had to be established, and the administration was to be made up of the nobles of the village.

It was decided to set up a savings and advance bank at a meeting of the Geldropse Boerenbond on June 14, 1896. Geldrop thus had the first, albeit unofficial, Boerenleenbank. Just before the founding of the Boerenbond, contacts had already been established between Vincent van den Heuvel and Father Van den Elsen. With the signing of the statutes by pastor Aertnijs, mayor C.J. Ter Borgh, manufacturers J. Schellens, Vincent van den Heuvel and P. van Besouw, municipal clerk P. van Vorst, contractor L. van Gaal, civil-law notary H. van de Voort, head of the school F. Tijssen and farmers J. van Happen, Th. van Happen, J. Toonders and P. van Goor, Geldrop was the first to have an official Boerenleenbank.

More than 80 years later, Rabobank reached a balance sheet total of 100 million guilders.

On June 20, 1979, it was announced that Mayor L.M.J. van Erp was allowed to unveil the long-awaited statue, De Wever.

This picture was made possible by the Rabobank, because during that period it reached a balance sheet total of 100 million guilders. This meant that the people of Geldrop had entrusted to the bank that respectable amount of savings, balances in salary accounts, deposits and current account. Reaching this financial milestone was sufficient reason for Rabobank to contribute to the beautification of the village centre.

A bronze statue of a hand weaver was chosen. With that, the craftsmen, who traditionally played a major role in the industry of Geldrop, were also honoured.

Ruud Singer made several studies before the final design could be cast in bronze. Ringers extensively studied “the weavers” in the paintings of the Brabant artist Vincent van Gogh and made several visits to the textile museum in Tilburg. There he got a good impression of the old hand weaving mill that played an important economic role in olde Geldrop for a long time. The artwork can be found in the Korte Kerkstraat.