The kind of man everyone in the village of Sint Pancras has something to say about. Hendrik (Henk) Vroegop is dead. Believed to have been violently killed just short of his 80th birthday. He was a well-known horse trader, politician, but was also convicted of illegal trading and domestic violence, according to documents in the hands of NH Nieuws.
The forensic investigation runs in white suits around the house on Broeckerhoek, right on the border between Sint Pancras and Broek op Langedijk. It has been more than 24 hours since the lifeless body of Henk Vroegop was found there.
He was allegedly beaten with a chair and stabbed with a knife. That’s what a fellow resident on the plot says against the newspaper. A 76-year-old fellow villager is currently in custody on suspicion of interference at the death of the excellent Pancrasser.
“He’s definitely earned a place in this.” On the table in Dirk Snip’s office is the book Typisk Langedijk, published by him seven years ago and full of striking inhabitants of the villages. On page 101 he is among his sheep. “Henk had his own opinion. Very positive, but it can also be experienced as negative. And if you waited for it: you got it.”
You may know Hendrik Vroegop, born in 1943, from the riding equipment trade. For years he ran a shop on Bovenweg in Sint Pancras and was still in the market for horse clothing. The trade he learned from his father can be read in the book.
“He could use me. When I was 18, we were in the market together. I’m richly blessed in the profession, but I worked hard for it.” As a true ‘horse man’, he visited all horse events in the region, but as an entrepreneur, Vroegop did not always comply with the law.
That The Dutch Food and Consumer Safety Authority punished him several times for it illegal trade in anthelmintics. He had that too often brings cash – also black. In 2013, something remarkable happens: He would have lost 60,000 euros. Forgot about the car.
When his wife drove away the next day, the envelope with 500 euro notes must be there from his fallen, he said. An anecdote that many a Pancrasser immediately repeats when you start talking about Vroegop.
And then his activist nature, also inherited from home. When Langedijk wants to give away part of Sint Pancras to Alkmaar in the 1990s, Vroegop decides to stand for election. “It made me angry, because my father had fought for the independence of Sint Pancras,” he says in the book Typical Langedijk.
‘He was a hard worker’
With preferential votes, he comes second in the CDA, but in the end he cannot prevent Vroonermeer-Noord from changing from a green area to a residential area in the cheese city. “I almost thought they were traitors.”
Due to a disagreement, he is thrown out of the party and in 2005 he starts the political party Colorful Langedijk with Marcel Brandsma and Mike van Kroonenburg. This became the largest party in the next election. “He was a hard worker and also a fighter for the village,” says council member Annelies Kloosterboer.
“The whole village is in suspense: who was it and what happened?”
She was the first woman involved in their party, which later merged with Dorpsbelang Langedijk and Hart voor Langedijk into Lokaal Dijk en Waard.
“He pulled the Queen’s Day celebrations out of the doldrums. It’s still a big party here today. We never leave the village on that day. I recently found a card from him. He found the newspaper interview about the amalgamation of the village festivals so funny that we could get over each other’s opposites.”
At home, Vroegop was the father of ten children with several women. He joined the Reformed Church and, based on his convictions, would also shelter various people on his property and in his house. Several documents show that in 2012 he was accused of abusing his daughter.
It can also be read that in 2011 he also came into contact with the judiciary for abuse of his then wife. He would have been sentenced to prison.
“The whole village is in suspense: who was it and what happened?” said Ron Spanjes to NH Nieuws, chairman of the Sint Pancras village council. He suspects there is a lot of speculation, especially as it becomes known who the arrested 76-year-old man is. “In a big city you are more anonymous, but not here.”
Dirk Snip closes the book on striking Langedijkers. “When I heard that, let’s be honest, I was hoping for a natural death. But in this way, it’s bizarre that this is happening in a village like St Pancras.”
In two weeks, Vroegop would be eighty. His words in Typisk Langedijk: “This is a beautiful village. Livable. Everything is there. People quickly feel at home here. I am happy that I am a Pancras-Langedijker.”