Origins of the Dutch Burgher Union

(Extract from the DBU Journal Vol 1 No 1)


The present movement was initiated by an informal meeting held at the Lindsay Lecture Hall, Bambalapitiya, on 12th November 1907, at which a large number of both ladies and gentlemen were present. The proceedings commenced by Mr H. van Cuylenburg being called to the chair. Mr R.G. Anthonisz gave a brief explanation of the objects of the meeting. At the conclusion of his address the following resolution was moved by Mr Horace de Kretser: “That this meeting is of opinion that a Union of the Dutch Burghers of Ceylon, with the object of promoting the moral, social and intellectual well-being of the community, was very desirable”. This was seconded and carried unanimously.


Mr J.E. Christoffelsz proposed that the following gentlemen, with power to add to their number, may be appointed a Committee to frame rules, enroll members and carry out the preliminary arrangements for the formation of such a Union, viz. Drs L.A. Prins and Andreas Nell, and Messrs. F.J.T. Foenander, E.A. vanderStraaten, G.E. Leembruggen, R.G. Anthonisz, C. Speldewinde, Horace de Kretser, F.H. de Vos, R.A. Brohier jr., Allan Drieberge, P.H. Ebell, Edgar Schokman, W.B. Toussaint, Colin Kriekenbeek, H.P. Beling, Lloyd Siebel, W.S. Christoffelsz, Sam de Heer, C. Albrecht and W.E.V. de Rooy.


The first meeting of the Committee took place on 16th November 1907.


Meetings were also held on 14th December 1907 and 4th January 1908 respectively, at which further details were discussed, and the rules which were to form the Constitution of the Union were framed and considered.


The General Inaugural Meeting of the Union took place at the Pettah Library Hall, on Saturday, the 18th January 1908, at which a large gathering of members was present.


The Hon’ble Mr F.C. Loos proposed that Dr van Dort take the chair. This was seconded by Mr E. de Kretser and carried unanimously. The Secretary, Mr. R.G. Anthonisz read the Notice convening the Meeting. The Report and the Constitution were unanimously adopted.


The Chairman proposed that the Hon. Mr F.C. Loos be elected President of the Union. This was seconded by Mr R.G. Anthonisz and carried unanimously.


Mr Arthur Alvis then moved the election of an Honorary Secretary. He said: “A duty has been entrusted to me, and that is that I suggest to you the name of the gentleman who is considered the fittest person to be our Secretary. I may say the wish is endorsed by each and every one present. I refer to our friend Mr R.G. Anthonisz. We have on our roll 268 members. I think that out of that number 267 will agree with me in seconding this motion with acclamation. I have pleasure in asking Mr Anthonisz to act as Secretary.” The motion was seconded by Mr Edwin Joseph and carried unanimously.


The Rev. J.A. Spaar moved the election of Honorary Treasurer and proposed the name of Mr Sam De Heer. This was seconded by Mr H.P. Beling and unanimously carried.


A Committee, consisting of 45 members, was then elected, of which 15 were members residing at outstations.


The proceedings terminated with a vote of thanks to the chair proposed by Mr Hector van Cuylenburg and seconded by Mr Allan Drieberg.