Portrait of an Editor: John van Tiggelen (English) - Van Tiggelen and Netherlands

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Van Tiggelen and Netherlands

John asked for and was granted Australian citizenship only this year! He must have still felt strongly about the Netherlands, although his wife is Australian and his children do not speak  Dutch. He told me, in faster Dutch than mine, that his grandmother, Oma, was very important to him. Oma from a centuries' old Zeeland family,  lived on a farm near Breskens, which John loved to visit when he came back from Australia. True to their roots, his parentsused to have a ''hobby farm''  in South Gippsland, which ran 60 heads of beef cattle. John's mother now leases out the grazing rights. The van Tiggelen family in the Netherlands is quite extensive, indeed there are thousands with this, or a very similar, name. He told me that he has seventeen uncles and also a number of aunts, but has little contact with them. After Oma passed away he hasn't been on any family visits to the Netherlands.
The tie with the motherland is usually family contact. When that stops it seems, as I noted elsewhere,  contact with the home country declines and so does the need to visit.
A new webpage on the van Tiggelen family, which includes its genealogy, showed me that the name goes back to the property Tichelt near Breda, with documentation reaching back to medieval times. It also told me that “the Van Tiggelen family are  pious folk”, with the family's coat of arms showing three stars representing the Holy Trinity.  I therefore speculated  that perhaps John would be a practicing Catholic.  That was not the case. When I said that I am an atheist, he simply said: ''Me too''.
Discussing the Australian landscape brought up  the phenomenon here of the very large edifices representing a local product, such as a giant sheep, an enormous banana, a three story high prawn, a  great avocado. They seem to detract from the landscape, just like the large advertising hoardings  your see on country roads. John was tolerant of this phenomenon.  He explained that some rural communities feel overlooked and that this is a way to draw the world's attention to them and   these gigantic images  help provide a local identity.  He did not agree with my suggestion that the incredibly large flagpole on top of Canberra's Parliament House  falls in the same category.