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NL: Martinus van Beek Sint Michielsgestel
The priest Martinus van Beek (1790-1872) became deputy headmaster at the Latin school in Gemert in 1825.
There he came into contact with four deaf people, whom he wanted to give religious lessons. He developed a sign language based on French literature.
He was the initiator of the Institute for the Deaf, which was housed in 1840 in vacant buildings of the major seminary at Nieuw-Herlaar in Sint-Michielsgestel.
In 1856 Van Beek became director of the Deaf and Dumb Institute in Antwerp, eight years later he opened his own institute. He died in Antwerp in 1872.
In 1908, the Institute in Sint-Michielsgestel moved into new premises on Theerestraat. On the occasion of the institute's 75th anniversary in 1915, a memorial was erected in front of the central entrance on behalf of former students. It was made by the Bossche sculptor Michiel van Bokhoven and depicts Van Beek with one of his students.
Van Bokhoven based his design on the statue that the deaf-mute French sculptor Félix Martin made in 1877 of priest Charles-Michel de L'Épée, who also taught the deaf. Martin's statue is placed in front of the deaf and dumb institute in Paris.
Institute for the Deaf
5271 GD Sint-Michielsgestel, NL