Despite its grand appearance dating from the XIV century, Kruikenburg Castle has very little space for the athletic interests of its students. “De Kring,” as it is known, was purchased in 1925 by the Brothers for use as both a school and a Brothers residence. For many years, young people would gather at the castle every Sunday morning to enjoy badminton, darts, chess, table football … and ping-pong. For the real sports enthusiasts, however, these activities were far too quiet. They were looking for more action. What then? Volleyball, of course!
The initial requirements for play were simple enough: one ball, one net and one pole (and, to save expenses, the castle wall could hold the other end of the net!) When the weather was inclement, players trained in the small entrance hall of the Castle … which kept good Brother Michiel busy replacing broken windows from stray volleyballs!
Instead of just recreational play, Brother Michiel, Mr. Fons De Brandt, Mr. Rob Van Mulders and Mr. Lucien De Wever decided one day to play a regulation, competitive game of volleyball. Brother Michiel bought a second pole and the net was placed in the centre of the inner courtyard. (That relocation would also “save the windows” a bit!)
In the March 1967 issue of the regional weekly publication, “De Galm,” Br. Michiel wrote with pride: “We have come so far! Youthkring Volleyball Kruikenburg has now become a real sports club thanks to the initiative of Mr. A. De Brandt, Mr. Bob Van Mulders, Mr. L. De Wever and myself. We are sure that the students and members of the Kruikenburg Kring will be able to create a major sport place for top players…. We hope volleyball will have a long future in Ternat.”
Brother Michiel must have been prescient because that was the start of numerous press releases regarding Kruikenburg Volleyball which extended over the next 50 years. On April 18, 1967, when membership in the “Official Belgium Association of Volleyball” was petitioned, Mr. Fons De Brandt served as chairman and Mr Lucien De Wever was secretary.
Mr. Robert Van Mulders replaced Brother Michiel as treasurer. Match after match, young people watched with amazement, becoming increasingly interested in this new sport. The biggest achievement of those first years was, undoubtedly, the Title against the LOT team on 17 March 1968. The inner courtyard of the castle was filled with excitement as nearly 400 spectators watched the Title Contest.
Kruikenburg won the game and became champion of the year! In 1972, the Brothers commissioned the construction of a new sports pavilion which, over time, has hosted many volleyball victories. In 2017, the Kruikenburg Volleyball Club celebrated its Golden Jubilee. Kruikenburg Castle athletes are proud to continue the strong volleyball tradition initiated by De La Salle Brothers and the first lay pioneers in Ternat. Today, 26 different teams compete in volleyball and they welcome all ages of athletes: children to young adults. In the future, it is hope that Kruikenburg Castle will enable even more people to learn about this exciting game … and, of course, celebrate more victories!