My mother Nel van Oppen was Protestant and later became Catholic because of her marriage to Pierre Schrijnen. We only know that the name Van Oppen comes from the name De Uppin, a leader of the Normans. Somewhere in France (Paris?), there should still be a tapestry hanging depicting a battle between the Gauls and the Normans. This battle is said to have taken place around the year 900 AD.

The tapestry represents the victory of the Gauls and the submission of a certain De-Uppin, the chieftain of the Normans, to the chieftain of the Gauls. This De-Uppin is said to be the ancestor of the modern-day Van Oppens. The legend continues, telling that this De-Uppin was banished to Wendland, present-day Czechoslovakia. There we find them in medieval history as Barons of Oppen.

The major religious movements of the Middle Ages seem to have had an impact on this family. Many of them converted to Protestantism. The Catholic part fled to the province of Limburg in the Netherlands, where again some embraced the Protestant religion, while others remained Catholic to this day.

Nel van Oppen was a member of the Protestant branch, and it is not surprising that from their family, consisting of a boy and three girls, both Nel and Frans again converted to Catholicism. Nel in Bandung (Java) December 24, 1926.

Nel van Oppen was born in Kudus, on Java on July 15, 1898. His father was Franciscus Johannes van Oppen and his mother was Petronella Margaretha Schippers. The latter was born in 1872 in Banjoemas, daughter of Pleun Schippers and Sara Cornelia van der Salm. Petronella Margaretha Schippers was legally domiciled in Batavia, but actually residing in Laren, Netherlands. She had previously been married to Charles Prosper Wolf Schoemaker. Sara was born on December 1, 1850 in Sommelse Dijk (ZH) where she also passed away on January 13, 1929.

Nel van Oppen
Nel van Oppen