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Jillis Bruggeman medal handed out

by Alex van Hulst

As a 'rainbow municipality' the municipality of Schiedam has a pioneering role when equal rights of LGBT's is at stake. One of the annual activities of the municipality, is to hand out the Jillis Bruggeman Medal of Honour. Recently this medal was handed out by alderman Mario Stam to KNVB president of the association Michael van Praag.

The Jillis Bruggeman Medal of Honour is handed out annually to a person or organization, having made efforts for the societal position of LGBT's. The medal is a symbol for the monumental tile - in the center of Schiedam - in remembrance of Jillis Bruggeman. Bruggeman, in 1803, was the last person sentenced under the Dutch law for homosexual acts.

In 2015 The first Medal of Honour was handed out by COC President Tanja Ineke to the director of Amnesty International, Eduardo Nazarski. This year the Medal of Honour was handed out to Michael van Praag in the old Town Hall in the center of Schiedam. Van Praag showed his delight with the fact that the municipality of Schiedam values the anti discrimination policy of the Dutch Soccer Association (KNVB). "We work hard on that in Zeist and in all our clubs. Therefore it pleases me if that effort is taken up by others. And, particularly when it happens in a manner like here in Schiedam."

Michael van Praag (middle) in conversation with Karin Blankenstein (Blankenstein Foundation). On the right: alderman Mario Stam.

However, van Praag pointed out: "why an award for me? I find it not more than normal that we stand up for minorities. But, let me be clear: as president of KNVB I feel very honoured with this token of appreciation from the side of a group where we stand for; every day if needed!"

This year a renown person from the sports world was selected. To ask for more attention for homosexuality within the sports world and to create more discussion about this remains necessary (and particularly in the world of soccer). Because on many playing fields 'homo' is the most used term of abuse.

Rainbow City
The handing out of the Jillis Bruggeman Medal of Honour is one of the activities undertaken by the municipality of Schiedam in the framework of the Rainbow City policy. The municipality acts in this in close cooperation with the gay ambassadors of Schiedam: Theo van der Heijden, Manno van den Berg, and Frank Machielsen (soon we will be pleased to introduce them extensively to you) and a specially installed 'group of régie'. At the end of last year a rainbow pedestrian crossing was unveiled in Schiedam, to ask for more attention to equal treatment of LGBT's. Also during the coming year the city will be active in the LGBT-field, with the realization of various 'pink' activities. A component of that is close cooperation with

Translation: Teun Botterweg


Jillis Bruggeman was the last homosexual in the Netherlands who was sentenced to death because of his sexual orientation. The verdict would read: 'vuyle ontugt' (dirty fornication) and Bruggeman was tied to the village gallow and whipped to death. On that very moment he was 53 years old.

Bruggeman settled in Schiedam in 1782. The 'dirty fornication' he did with a person named Scheurkogel, who later blackmailed him with that. When all this was exposed, the blackmailer was expelled from the Netherlands, and Bruggeman was interrogated and sentenced to death. The shocking details of interrogation have been filed in a special process pouch, with which at a later date the municipality of Schiedam won the third price with the 'archive item of the year'.