– Marie Adrien Perk, his son Jacques and La Roche

In last weeks blog I spoke about Jacques Perk. Between then and now, Eric and I have given two guided tours in the Castle of La Roche and also there we tell about father and son Perk and their importance for La Roche and vice versa.

M.A. Perk

Marie Adrien Perk was born in Delft on 23 april 1834 and died on 15 december 1916 in Amsterdam. He was a theologian, writer and pastor of the Walloon church in the Netherlands. In 1857 Perk married Justine Georgette Caroline Clifford Kocq van Breugel (1835-1900). One of their children was poet Jacques, later frontman of the “Movement of the Eighties” in Dutch literature.

To be honest, Eric and I had heard of the German and Norwegian churches but never of the Walloon church. As we found out the Walloon church is a separate group of churches. During father Perks time it was part of the Nederlands Hervormde Kerk. Now it is part of the Dutch Protestant church. French is their language to communicate. Perk was pastor in Dordrecht, Breda and in the end in Amsterdam.

It meant that the Perk family knew very well how to express themselves in French! They loved the Belgian Ardennes and spent their holidays quite often in the little town of La Roche.

M.A. Perk described La Roche in his Dutch travelguide “In de Belgische Ardennen” dating 1882. As token of gratitude for the increase of tourism in the town by enthusistic readers of his travelguide, in 1912 a memorial was erected for Perk: a wooden bench around a huge rock in which some sentences from his touristguide, this time in French though, so visitors can read and understand.

J.F.H. Perk

In 1933 on the backside of the stone a sentence from a letter by his son Jacques was engraved: ‘Ik ijl naar mijn geliefde, de lustige Ourthe, die mij schaterend opvangt.’, roughly translated “I rave to my beloved, the lusty Ourthe, to be caught with a laugh”.

I would have loved to give you one of Jacques poems about La Roche in translation but I’m afraid that my translation of a romantic poem from a Dutch poet of the 19th century would definitely not honour the meaning nor the importance of the work …

However, Jacques works still are a source of inspiration for many!

The MaGMa Trio and painter Daisy Hoste discussing Jacques Perk

Enjoy the week

Marijke Persijn

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