Life changing events: winning, not gaining

Winning over a hundred thousand euros and then giving it all away, is probably not what most of us will do. But for Frans Harinck (81) that decision wasn’t even a question. 

Text by Thirza de Raad

Frans Harinck has lived in the small town of Vrouwenpolder for over 30 years. Five years ago, he got called by his housekeeper, who told him the town just won the national lottery. Frans was convinced he hadn’t bought a lottery ticket until he was contacted by the organization, who told him he won 107.000 euros. 

There was a big celebration organised and there was even a documentary made about the village.

In comparison to the rest of the town, it wasn’t the biggest amount. However, that didn’t change the surprise. There was a big celebration organised and there was even a documentary made about the village. However, Frans kept his distance during this chaos, he didn’t think it was that interesting.

According to Frans, the town has not changed that much; “Of course you saw that people who won a lot of money did do some expensive purchases, but the atmosphere never changed.” Frans isn’t that involved in the neighbourhood. “When you’re not an active member in church, you’re also not invited for most of the local activities”, he says.

Frans Harinck (81) collects vintage items.

Frans wasn’t really interested in the money, but he immediately knew what to do with it; “My wife died 40 years ago, so I am by myself. I am too old to do things like traveling and I also don’t need any material things”, he says. “I’m happy with my life as it is , so I decided to donate all of the money that I won to my children. With the money they were able to pay off their housing debts”, Frans clarifies. 

Frans collects vintage furniture and art in his spare time. He goes to local markets and collections of other people every week. His biggest collections are grey enamelled tableware, mostly pans and mugs. Beside tableware he also collects furniture, vintage radios, sculptures and paintings. One of his most precious paintings is from J. van Gogh. He is not sure if the painter is related to Vincent van Gogh, but he thinks the painting is beautiful. 

Frans is happy with his life as it is now.

In summer time he makes his own little store inside of his garage and sells the items to tourist. He has lots of customers and some even come back every year. In the winter he has his regular clients from the neighborhood. 

Not only keep Frans himself busy with his collection, he can also be found often in his allotments garden. He owns the public garden with his two children. They grow herbs and vegetables. 

Frans is happy with his life as it is now. He has a nice house, can do what he likes and has healthy (grand)children. The saying ‘Money creates happiness’ is not up for Frans. on the question if his life has changed since the lottery, the answer will be no. The only difference is that he lives a calmer life, with the knowledge that his kids won’t have financial issues anymore.