Jan Niers was Queen's Commissioner in Overijssel from 15 May 1972 to 1 July 1988. This born and bred Tukker (Twente local), son of a wealthy, Catholic shopkeeper in Hengelo, was a teacher and lawyer in Hengelo and was politically active as a KVP/CDA council member, provincial parliamentary member and senator.
He was the first representative to become Queen's Commissioner in his own province. Niers was a mindful and modest strategist and as Queen's Commissioner was a tolerant and competent leader, who was very involved in the ups and downs of his province.
When he left his position as Queen's Commissioner the Mr J.L.M. Niers Fund was set up at his request to fund the Neuromuscular Motion Control special chair at the University of Twente. This special chair was founded in association with the Roessingh rehabilitation centre in Enschede. These days the Niers Fund supports the Telemedicine special chair of Prof. Dr. ir. Hermie Hermens. This special chair is a collaboration between the University of Twente and Roessingh Research.
The Mr. J.L.M. Piers Fund is a lasting gift from the entire business community in Overijssel. Frontrunners of this initiative were Mr J.W. Fabius, then director of Energiebedrijf IJsselmij, Mr B.J. Boerma, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Factories Zwolle, and Drs. J.D. Visser, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Factories Hengelo. The donors included virtually all the large businesses and institutions in Overijssel.
Niers died in Denekamp on 29 October 2005 aged eighty.