Love stories Tilburg University

‘He tripped over my bag and within three weeks after the first date we were living together’

Love story 3min. Swaans Communicatie

Many loves have their origins on campus, though not all of them last. Some campus couples are still together to this day. Towards the university's 100th anniversary, we collect their love stories. For example, the story of Johan Hoekstra and Patricia Hoekstra-Geurten. Minor events can have major consequences. Johan fell for Patricia during a lecture. Within three weeks after the first date they were living together and within fifteen months they were married. Patricia tells their romantic story, which started literally between the benches at Tilburg University.

After graduating in Dutch Law, Patricia took a post-doctoral course in Tax Law at Tilburg University. She used to go to lectures on Tuesday afternoon and evening. “At one of those lectures someone wanted to get past me”, Patricia says. “You know what that’s like in a lecture hall: fold down the table, fold up the seat, stand up and hold in your tummy so the person can squeeze past you. The man who was trying to pass by got his foot caught in the strap of my bag and went sprawling. We joked later that he fell right into my arms”. Patricia and Johan talked for a while about the course and about work. They felt they were attracted to each other but Patricia was already in a five-year relationship. And she didn’t even know his name.

Call at work

But a seed had been planted. “On one occasion we were both taking an exam and I was looking at him the whole time”, Patricia chuckles. “Soon afterwards I got a phone call at work. I knew straight away that it was Johan. He had actually plucked up the courage to call my office. And even though there were 35 lawyers working there, he was put straight through to me. Good going! He asked if I wanted to go out for a meal with him. But I had a boyfriend, so I held off a bit.” After a while Patricia’s relationship broke up. She couldn’t get Johan out of her mind, however. “Then it was my turn to pluck up courage and call him at work. Our first date was in a restaurant in Tilburg, the second was in Den Bosch. We clicked immediately. Our fellow students thought it was great that we had got together. They called us the ‘fiscal partners of the year’. And when we had been together for only a week, Johan was sworn in at the Court as a deputy civil-law notary. He wanted me to go along but of course his parents were there too. So I met his parents after a week! I was really nervous but we all got on well together from the start.”

Johan en Patricia

When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he suggested an engagement ring

Tying the knot after fifteen months

Patricia and Johan fell head over heels for each other. “After three weeks we were living together. When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he suggested an engagement ring. So within four months we were engaged. And we tied the knot fifteen months after we first met.” More than thirty years later, the couple have two kids and a dog. “And we’re still happily married”, Patricia grins.

patricia en johan
Patricia en Johan + familie

Their own notary firm

“When we finished our studies we started a notary firm together: Hoekstra Geurten Notarissen, a civil-law notary firm specializing in corporate law, such as setting up companies, amending articles of incorporation, demergers/mergers, divorce mediation, risk limitation, division of apartment rights, real estate transfers and mortgages. We did that for more than nineteen years. Johan turned 65 in 2018: a good time to stop working. We had a vacation home in France; we lived half the year in the Netherlands and half the year in France. But that didn’t go so well. I missed work. So we came back to the Netherlands and I started work again, first as a senior tax adviser and then as a senior deputy civil-law notary / tax consultant.”

Patricia en Johan

Back to where it all began

Patricia and Johan recently visited the campus again for the first time in many years. “We went into that old lecture hall; it looked exactly the same as ever. It was great to be there again and to think back to thirty years ago. And it’s really special that we ended our postdoctoral Tax Law studies not only with a degree but also with true love.”

Do you have a Tilburg University love story too?

Did you meet the love of your life at Tilburg University? Did sparks fly immediately? Or did it take a little longer for your feelings to grow? 

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Date of publication: 29 July 2022