Piet and Marie got married on the 8th of June in 1960 in Uden, the Netherlands. A few weeks later, on the 29th of June 1960, they left together to go to Little Chute.
Piet and Marie were the last to immigrate from the province of North-Brabant to Little Chute.
Piet was the one who took the initiative to leave Brabant. At first, he considered Australia and New-Zealand since a lot of people from Volkel had gone there. But in the end, they decided to follow his brother Jan that immigrated to Little Chute earlier on. Jan convinced Piet to come over. Piet was a bricklayer who were much needed in Little Chute.
For the first few days in their new hometown Piet and Marie stayed with Piet’s brother and his family. Since they had small children, they decided to look for a different place to stay. They ended up by Johanna Sanders. She had immigrated to Little Chute as early as 1908 and also came from Uden which connected the three of them. Piet and Marie ended up living with Johanna Sanders for two years.
Soon after their arrival Piet could start as a bricklayer. The couple did well in their new hometown and had three daughters together. At first, they spoke Dutch at home but as soon as their kids started high school, they spoke more and more English. Piet and Marie are still speaking a mix of ‘Brabant’s’ (dutch dialect from the province of North-Brabant) and English together.
Piet and Marie keep many Dutch traditions alive in Little Chute and amongst other they organize a yearly Dutch fair. Piet was also one of the driving forces behind the Dutch windmill that was built in 2012.
They also kept in touch with a lot of other Brabanders that had immigrated to the Fox Valley in the 50’s and 60’s. They celebrated Sinterklaas together, had a Dutch dancing club and a card club. However, with old age it has become very difficult o keep in touch with the other Brabanders. A lot of them have passed away or becoming less mobile due to aging.
Piet and Marie have lived in Little Chute for 60 years now. In June 2020 they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. In the spring of 2020 Piet turned 90 years old and Marie is 85 years old.