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Book reveals how the fledgling VU depended on benevolent brewer

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM Ė The 19th century brewer equivalent of todayís Heineken served as the financial backer of the fledgling Free University, paid the salaries of the institutionís professors, and later became its CFO. Until now, Willem Hovy remained in the shadows of founder Abraham Kuyper and was only recently Ďpulledí from obscurity when a historian at the university discovered the extent of the manís involvement in the early years. Brewery De Gekroonde Valk, founded by Amsterdamís Van Vollenhovens, was the domain of Hovy, who was known as a benevolent entrepreneur with compassion for his employees, both materially and spiritually. The research by historian Van der Woude resulted in a book on Hovy and the unveiling of a statue of the benefactor, next to his friend Abraham Kuyper, VUís founder.