Expatica news

Van Velzen song remembers Expatica’s Antoine van Veldhuizen and MH17 flight victims

Following the tragic crash of MH17 flight on 17 July 2014, Dutch singer Roel van Velzen was moved to write a song to commemorate all the victims titled Meet you There, which was written last year and recently released.

Meet you There was inspired by the widely loved family of Expatica’s managing partner Antoine van Veldhuizen, who lost his life on MH17 along with his wife, Simone Markelbach, their two sons, Quint and Pijke, and Simone’s mother, Christiene. Expatica considers this song a beautiful tribute to their family and all the lives lost on MH17.

Both Expatica and the management of Van Velzen have offices in the same building in Haarlem, and have fostered a friendly relationship over several years of working next to each other.

Their death had a tremendous impact, Van Velzen told RTV NH, “From one day to the next they were suddenly gone. I immediately thought: here I must do something. I would love to make a farewell song. People never had the opportunity to say goodbye to their friends and family.”

The song refers to the afterlife and aims to provide some comfort to the many grieving friends and family of all the MH17 victims.

As we look forward, we will always remember one of Antoine’s favourite quotes that said a lot about his view on life: “Don’t forget: always approach life with a smile.” (Vergeet niet, benader het leven altijd met een glimlach.)

You can listen to Meet You There on Spotify and iTunes, or see the story behind creating this song.

In the family’s memory, we are proud to continue the PACQS Foundation, established in Pijke, Antoine, Christiene, Quint and Simone’s names. Run by family and close friends, PACQS—to be pronounced ‘pax’, Latin for ‘peace’—has made it its mission to support a number of charities striving towards world peace and a safer, healthier and more sustainable society.

Antoine meant a great deal to Expatica. He co-developed Expatica almost from the very start, and was the personification of the Expatica Family. He started the “i am not a tourist” Expat Fair, which will celebrate its 13th edition next year. It is impossible to mention everything he did for Expatica in the 12 years he was a part of the team. His boundless and infectious energy led to many initiatives and successes.

Antoine will never return, but he will always be part of the Expatica Family, forever known as its most important, energetic, loyal, likeable, committed, sympathetic, best member with the loudest laugh. He will never be forgotten.


Should anyone wish to leave a message in memory of Christiene, Antoine, Simone, Quint and Pijke, please feel free to do so at the family’s memoriam Facebook page.