Immigrants from Holland reunite nearly 70 years ago later at Langley Lodge

Femmy Vandenberg and Grace Bos are now in their 90s

A stranger took this picture of Femmy Vandenberg (left) and Grace Bos (right), with her husband Sid, on the Volendam. The women immigrated to Canada from Holland nearly 70 years ago and reunited at the Langley Lodge. (Trudy DeVries/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Nearly 70 years ago two young women from Holland immigrated to Canada, travelling by ship and then by train to eventually part ways in Jasper.

Now in their 90s, the women have reunited at Langley Lodge.

Femmy Vandenberg, 93, and Grace Bos, 91, spent seven days crossing the Atlantic Ocean by ship. They eventually docked in Halifax and boarded a train travelling across Canada, according to Vandenberg’s daughter, Trudy DeVries, who shared the story with the Langley Advance Times.

They women were recently reunited at the Langley care home.

READ MORE: Langley artist, 88, longest member of community club showcases work at Port Kells Art Show

Bos’ daughter Emily Kleingeltink recounted about when the pair first met again, and how they reminisced about the old days.

“They talked about whose brothers they had went to school with, how old they were… [Grace] had went to school with Femmy’s brother, they were in the same grade,” said Kleingeltink.

“They talked a lot about family and things from Holland.”

Vandenberg had been at Langley Lodge for nine years when Bos arrived.

“They weren’t friends really at the time [they immigrated]. When you immigrate you see someone who’s from the same town, you kind of gravitate to them and later it’s like you have this bond because you went through all this stuff together to immigrate,” DeVries said, explaining a bit about the women’s relationship.

“You grasp at whatever is familiar.”

The women were in their early 20s when they left Holland for Canada in 1951.

Bos boarded the ship with her husband Sid, who was sponsored by a family for work.

Meanwhile Vandenberg made the trek for love.

“For a year she had written letters to the love of her life, Klaas Vandenberg, who was already living up north in Houston, (B.C.),” said DeVries, as she looked through her mother’s self-penned life story.

Vandenberg met Klaas when they were teenagers in Holland. Vandenberg lived in Zwartsluis and Klaas lived nearby on a farm.

READ MORE: Province funds new shuttle buses for 13 B.C. senior centres

“They had gotten to know each when they were teenagers, after the war,” DeVries shared.

“Dad fought in Indonesia and when he arrived back that’s when mom and dad met… she was driving her bike with her friends and they got to talking… after that the sparks flew, I guess.”

Klaas left for Canada to meet his brother, and Vandenberg eventually journeyed to join him.

“My mother met her sweetheart in Burns Lake and they married in Houston. Fast forward 68 years, my parents and our little family moved across Canada four times over the years, finally settling in Langley,” said DeVries.

Meanwhile, the Bos family moved around the Fraser Valley several times before settling in Langley in 1988.

Today, Vandenberg and Bos can be found at the Langley Lodge frequently spending time with their daughters, who on occasion bring their mothers together for a visit.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Township firefighters release 2019 calendar in support of LAPS

Calendars can be purchased from Township Shopper’s Drug Mart locations

Wanna join the Langley Farmers’ Institute?

The newly formed group hosts a membership meeting Sunday, Dec. 15

Langley library makes the holiday season green

People are invited to get green screen pictures taken at Muriel Arnason’s Christmas Cheer event

Langley stab victim refuses to talk to RCMP

Police responded to the area of Crush Crescent and Glover Road

VIDEO: Brookswood lights up Langley with holiday festivities Friday evening

Celebrations bring together many people to enjoy the spirit of the season

BREAKING: RCMP say no survivors in Gabriola Island plane crash

The Island is located about five kilometres east of Vancouver Island

VIDEO: Harbour Air makes history with first electric aircraft test flight

Successful flight marks first of its kind in the world

The Grinch who Stole a Hedge: Security camera captures Chilliwack tree theft

RCMP arrives as person calmly walks away with tree in downtown area

Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to rodents and snakes

92 cases of salmonella across six provinces, including B.C.

Meng Wanzhou wins right to more documents involving arrest at Vancouver airport

Defence lawyers allege the Huawei executive was unlawfully detained, searched and interrogated

Police say they’ve identified suspects in Bradley Kline homicide in Surrey

Kline, 26, was found dead at 7055 144A St. on Dec. 7, 2018

Truck with body inside found at bottom of lake near Kootenay ferry

Investigators believe no foul play is expected but are unsure how the vehicle ended up in the Arrow Lakes

Most Read