As the founder of our company, we owe Jan a tremendous debt of gratitude. Under his leadership, Van Schie B.V. has evolved from a local enterprise into an international organization.
The last years were challenging, as Jan suffered from Lewy body dementia.
We fondly remember his vision, entrepreneurial spirit, determination, and tireless dedication with immense respect and warmth.
Jan turned 80 years old.
The condolences and cremation have already taken place. Thank you for your support and sympathy.
So ordinary, yet so special
He was simplicity itself, yet possessed a sound common sense. Born during the Second World War, amidst cows in the Green Heart, the eldest in a family of 10 children. It was a time when everyone in the polder had to work relentlessly to make ends meet. After the war, Jan quickly realized that rolling up your sleeves was not enough, that you had to go the extra mile to progress. He understood the need to invest, to take the initiative, and build something on your own.
It all began in 1962 with a tractor on a barge, allowing Jan to reach virtually all plots in the fragmented landscape, separated by ditches and canals. He was the first in the entire area to do so. With this setup, he could tend to the land for nearby and distant neighbors, mow the grass, spread fertilizer, roll the pasture, and clean the ditches. A contracting business was born. Machines were added, staff was hired, and the operational area expanded significantly. When brother Gerard joined about ten years later, the business entered an accelerated phase: Van Schie evolved into a full-fledged Civil, Road, and Hydraulic Engineering company.
Everyone who knew Jan van Schie would describe him as an amiable person, socially conscious, yet unwavering when he set his mind on something. He was the type of person for whom you didn’t need to put much on paper, because ‘a deal is a deal.’ However, he also had a tendency to be quite frugal. It wasn’t a narrow-minded thriftiness, but Jan understood better than anyone that you need to earn money before spending it. On the other hand, he was generous when it came to charitable causes, always choosing causes he was confident would make good use of the funds. Such as various hospices for palliative care in Ronde Venen or a priest whom he regularly supported financially for missions in Africa.
Jan remained a bachelor throughout his life, worked day and night, had his boots in the mud, yet also knew how to let loose at times. In his younger years, he enjoyed going out, joining in with his friends for drinks, and was even crowned as the Carnival Prince for Kockengen and its surroundings. Despite his strong attachment to the polder, Jan occasionally ventured abroad. Business trips took him to the United States, Sweden, and Suriname; he even went skiing in Austria once. Jan van Schie was also a faithful churchgoer. Initially, he attended the Catholic church in Mijdrecht, later alternating with the smaller church in Kockengen. Jan would say, ‘I first see who’s leading the service. I’m not too fond of long-winded priests.’ Under Jan’s leadership, the original Civil, Road, and Hydraulic Engineering company primarily grew into an international player over the last two decades. This included the acquisition, modernization, and expansion of Janson Bridging, among others, and the integration of HP Staal under the Van Schie umbrella. Jan van Schie was once hailed as ‘the most influential person in Ronde Venen’ by the business magazine IntoBusiness. However, what truly remains with people is Jan van Schie’s simplicity. It is a tragic loss that a disease like Lewy body dementia has mercilessly taken its toll, gradually bringing an end to a rich and fascinating life.
Anyone who had the privilege of working with him will remember Jan van Schie as an upright individual and a respected entrepreneur who elevated the Van Schie Group and put it on the international map.