By Brian Roebke
Diny van Hoften and Manon van Bergen of The Netherlands were in Little Chute a few weeks ago to make some face-to-face connections with Little Chuters while they continue to raise funds for a Dutch documentary about the relationship of Catholics who emigrated between 1848 and 1960 from the Netherlands, mostly from the Eastern part of the province of Brabant, to Little Chute.
They were here for five days to hear interesting stories from older Dutch people.
van Hoften said they still need about 30,000 euros to fund the documentary.
“If we manage that, then we come back in the summer with a film crew to film all those beautiful stories,” she said. “They’re so many beautiful stories and such a history here. It would be a pity if it’s gone.”
van Hoften isn’t just someone with an interest in history, but she’s a filmmaker who makes documentaries for a living.
Her interest in the connection with Little Chute is fairly new after she saw a newspaper article in 2013 about Little Chute building an authentic Dutch windmill. “I thought, ‘why are they building a Dutch windmill in Little Chute,’ I never heard of the the town,” she said.
She learned some of the history of Little Chute and then met Willem Rovers from Uden and Willem Keeris from Zeeland, who keep the relationship between Little Chute and Eastern Brabant alive.
She thinks the story is unique because so many of the Dutch who went to America were Protestants, but the Catholics went to Little Chute.
“That’s why we decided, let’s make a documentary of it,” she said.
The people from this area who’ve been to The Netherlands know this but Dutch people learn English very early in school and television shows are shown with English speaking but with subtitles.
van Hoften’s movies concentrate on life in the province of New Brabant and she’s currently working on a documentary about a man who has a museum in a small town in The Netherlands.
As someone who makes documentaries, she only films real stories.
During her first time in Little Chute, she was amazed to see all the Dutch names everywhere. “The older people, they’re all so nice, it feels like a bit of home,” she said.
van Hoften has urgency with this project, since the last of the settlers who came from The Netherlands are in their 80s. “In 10 years, (the stories) are all gone,” van Hoften said.
For more information about the documentary see the Documentary Little Chute page on Facebook and the crowdfunding site listed earlier.
To make a contribution, go to cinecrowd.com/van-houdoe-naar-how-do. The amounts listed can only be seen in euros but if an amount is chosen and the personal bank details are entered, the system converts the amount into American dollars.
By Brian Roebke