Mourners farewell a father, teacher and inspirer
19 January 2004 , AMSTERDAM — In an emotional ceremony, school teacher Hans van Wieren was cremated in Rijswijk on Monday, several days after a 17-year-old student confessed to gunning him down at the Terra College school in The Hague last week.
19 January 2004
AMSTERDAM — In an emotional ceremony, school teacher Hans van Wieren was cremated in Rijswijk on Monday, several days after a 17-year-old student confessed to gunning him down at the Terra College school in The Hague last week.
About 1,000 people attended the funeral service, including Deputy Prime Minister Thom de Graaf and Education Minister Maria van der Hoeven. On request from the family, the media maintained a respectful distance throughout the ceremony.
Van Wieren, 49, was described during the funeral as someone who had a sense of reality, but worked to try and improve the world. He was also "an involved, honest colleague" who stimulated others, an NOS news report said.
On behalf of the victim's two daughters, Van Wieren's sister-in-law said: "Dearest daddy, you are suddenly no longer with us. It is not fair. We had still so much to say, so many questions. We wanted to still cuddle and kiss. We would happily turn the clock back and wake from this horrible dream".
Terra College school director Gerard van Miltenburg questioned aloud how long society should wait — and what price it was willing to pay — before it decided to banish a problem youth from school, newspaper Haagsche Courant reported.
Rien Schenk, the chairman of the central board of the Stedelijk College of Zoetermeer — where Van Wieren was active as a member of the school board — also addressed the gathered mourners and said: "Neither Hans nor the education sector failed, society did".
Van Wieren was a Democrat D66 local council member in Zoetermeer and the party's leader in Zoetermeer, Flip Huisman, said the murder was a senseless act and expressed hope that it would shake society awake.
The chair of the Phoenix korfball association, J. Bender, also gave a short speech. The Van Wieren family were members of the korfball association.
The funeral service started at 10.30am and besides several teachers from the Terra College and Democrat D66 Minister De Graaf and Christian Democrat CDA Minister Van der Hoeven, the Mayor of The Hague, Wim Deetman, and his Zoetermeer colleague Luigi van Leeuwen also attended.
The auditorium of the Rijswijk crematorium — which has a maximum capacity of 350 people — was too small to accommodate the large crowd. Loudspeakers were thus placed outside the building for the crowd to follow proceedings.
On request from the family, the students of Terra College did not attend and just a small group of youths represented the school's student population.
Van Wieren was shot on 13 January at about 1.15pm and died at about 10pm that night, an hour after the 17-year-old suspect, Murat D., reported to police. The alleged murder weapon was later found in bushes near the school.
Murat D. appeared before a judge on Friday and confessed to the shooting. He said the shooting occurred after he and Van Wieren exchanged a few words. He said he was carrying a gun because it made him feel safer, news agency ANP reported.
A closed circle of students and teachers gathered at the Terra College on Friday to commemorate the economics teacher's death and despite a gathering of unruly students in front of the school on Thursday morning chanting their support for D., there were no reports of a repeat disturbance.
Hundreds of people and students from Terra College also attended a remembrance ceremony on Saturday. A spokesman for the family said the service was "very beautiful and without one discordant sound".
Hans van Wieren is survived by his wife Monique van Wieren and daughters Sharon and Elaine.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news + school shooting