The Dorhout Mees Foundation was established by Johannes (Johan) Quintinus Dorhout Mees (1870 – 1907), son of Mr Bernardus Dorhout Mees (1830 – 1890) and Jkvr. [Lady] Josina Margaretha Lewe van Aduard (1838 – 1905), on 2 January 1907.
The Dorhout Mees family name has officially existed since 1868. Rev. Petrus Mees from Garmerwolde and the Frisian church minister’s daughter Neltje Dorhout gave their youngest son the first names Bernardus Dorhout. (He was named after a brother-in-law and was not given the names because the family name was threatened with extinction). At the time, adding the family name as a first name was a custom in the province of Groningen. Until 1868, his official family name was Mees. By the Royal Decree of 1868, the change of name was officially recorded and thus his name became Bernardus Dorhout Mees, the father of the Founder.
The Dorhout Mees coat of arms consists of four classical quarterings (1 and 4: Mees (Groningen), 2 and 3: Dorhout (Leeuwarden)). The Mees coat of arms from Groningen was recovered in a coat of arms album dating from 1641 and the Dorhout coat of arms was first pictured on a shield around 1740.
In 1888, the Founder Johan Dorhout Mees sustained permanent injury from a serious train accident when the trains from Meppel and Groningen collided near Ruinerwold. After this accident, not a day passed by without him experiencing pain.
This pain dominated the rest of his life. It was almost impossible for him to work, exercise or have a social life. When his physical condition became so serious that a perilous operation was required, Johan decided to draw up his will a month before the operation.
In the will it was recorded that his property was to be placed in a Foundation with the objective to enable young relatives to find an honourable existence ‘through study, trade, industry or in a different manner.’
After over 100 years, the Foundation is still administered in conformity with the articles of association and in the spirit of the founder.
In 1907, Johan Dorhout Mees was laid to rest with his parents in the family tomb in Zuiderbegraafplaats [cemetery], dating from 1827, in Groningen.