Oudtshoorn South Africa  

13 April 1773; Funeral procesion of Baron Reede van Oudtshoorn in Capetown
The connection of Alphen a/d Rijn with South Africa starts with Pieter Baron van Reede van Oudtshoorn; born Utrecht The Netherlands 1714,  Lord of Oudshoorn, Gnephoek and Ridderbuurt . In addition to his functions in the Netherlands he hold, since the tender age of 27, various senior positions in the VOC (>  more info>>>) in the Cape a/o Chief Buyer ( Opperkoopman). He was also a member of the Justice and Policy council of the Cape. In 1760 he was appointed vice Governor (secundus). Six years later he returned to the Netherlands to retire and settle his affairs after he had become sole heir of his wealthy great-uncle, the English Peer, William Ferdinand Carey, Lord Hunsdon (who used to live in Alphen !).
At that time he purchased  the castle of Drakenburg of which he became Lord. In 1772 he decided to return once again to the Cape, to take up his old position which was still vacant. When word came that the Governor had died ,he was appointed as such. As faith would have it, he himself died in January 1773 during the voyage and was subsequently buried in Capetown with great ceremony. A remembrance plate was added in the "Groote Kerk". 


Hatchment in Oudshoorn church in the Netherlands.
His son William Ferdinand , born 1755 in the Cape, worked for the VOC, like his father before him. He  was Treasurer and Member of the council of Policy in the Cape when in 1795  British troops landed in order of making the Cape a British Protectorate. He was  the only member of the council not to sign the articles of capitulation and was called "a bold Baron of Seven Tails". He died in the Cape in 1822 and was buried in a tomb in the grounds of his home "Saesveld". His home  has been rebuild in 1967 and houses a museum.    William Ferdinand is also remembered on a hatchment in the Church of Oudshoorn in the Netherlands His branch of the family is still extant in South Africa.

The youngest daughter of William Ferdinand named  Geesje ,born 1799, married  Bertus Bergh in 1820 in Cape town. In the middle of the nineteen's century Bertus became one of the  founders of a town , in a village originally pioneered  by a/o Pieter Nel (1749-1814),  which he named  Oudtshoorn in honor of his famous family in law. 


C.P Nel Museum, Baron van Reede street; Oudtshoorn S.A.
The history and development of Oudtshoorn became  intertwined with the growth of the ostrich-feather industry. By the turn of the century, these  feathers were in  fashion and commanded high prices in Europe. The resultant prosperity had a profound effect on all sectors of the community. When the ostrich-feather market crashed in 1914 with the outbreak of the First World War, many wealthy merchants and farmers lost their fortunes almost overnight. 


Swartberg pass
The town is situated in the" Klein Karoo" in the South part of South Africa, some 55 km from the coast. It lies in a valley, with the Swartberg mountainrange to the North and the Outeniqua mountain range to the south Today, the town with its many beautiful sandstone buildings, is regarded as a tourist destination. Cultural highlights include the annual Klein Karoo National Arts Festival.


In 1962 an official of Oudthoorn S.A. who visited Alphen aan den Rijn presented a copy of the coat of arms of his municipality as a gift to celebrate the common tie. After that visit there have been a number of contacts both official and unofficial. In the spring of 2002 a twin City agreement was signed.





References:

  • D.C. Peters. "Pieter en Willem Ferdinant van Reede van Oudshoorn: Ambachtsheren vanuit de Kaapkolonie. Viersprong nr 33 nov 1992.
  • J.Ph. Labordus. "Tweemaal Oudshoorn" Viersprong nr 53 nov. 1997.
  • On the South African branch of  family Reede van Oudsthoorn  : Articles in  Familia Quarterly Journal of the Genealogical Society of South Africa 1972  No 2 and also in 1977 No 2/3  by Robert.A. Laing of Colington S.A. (P.O. box 81011, Parkhurst 2120)
  • www.oudtshoorn.com for general information on Oudtshoorn S.A.