Art assignment Nijkerk

By Jan-Carel Koster

Art assignment 6 centuries Nijkerk

This art assignment was designed by Jan-Carel Koster and commissioned by the Municipality of Nijkerk and St. Nijkerk 600. The sculpture was unveiled on May 25 – 2015 by the Mayor of Nijkerk Mr. G. Renkema on the Oosterstraat in the heart of Nijkerk Center.

Technical Information

Material:  Rojo Alicante (Red Marble)
Origins:  Spain
Weight of sculpture:  8 – 9000kg
Height:  305 cm

‘Connecting’ is the theme that has been included as a precondition for the art commission by the Municipality of Nijkerk. The question was to do something with this, especially looking at the past, present and future of the people, for the people and by the people in the Municipality of Nijkerk.

The sculpture that Jan-Carel designed is abstract in construction but hides a lot of symbolism, which is explained in the story below. See also the attached sketch for illustration. The sculpture is 3.05 meters high, weighs approximately 8-9,000 kg and is made of a reddish Spanish marble called ‘Alicante Rojo’.

History

History

Looking at the past of Nijkerk, its history goes back a long way, to at least 2700 years BC when the first people lived at the location in southern Flevoland. In all the intervening years up to and including now, a lot has happened that logically cannot all be depicted in one sculpture. That is why Jan-Carel has taken some important points from history that were important for the development of the Municipality of Nijkerk.

Design

When you look at this design you will see many organic and rhythmically designed lines that are recognizable in the sculptor’s work and are typical of his style. These lines and shapes come together at various points in this design, which has a meaning that will be explained later in the story.

But first the basic shape; as a basis you can make out the number 6 from the shape, this of course represents the 600th anniversary of Nijkerk. But the shape is also based on the shape of a pipe for smoking tobacco. As many may know, Nijkerk has grown thanks to tobacco cultivation, among other things. So big that in 1795 the city could be called the largest city in the Veluwe. Hence the many large mansions in the center of the city. Jan-Carel used these 2 symbols as a starting point, but there are more important points to mention that have made Nijkerk the way it is today. There is also a connection abroad, namely with New York.

New York

The Nijkerker Killlean van Renselaer (who is buried in the Grote Kerk) is one of the founders of New York together with Corlaer and van Slichtenhorst. They made the crossing to the great unknown country on a boat, which at that time still sailed on wind power, to connect the two continents. This element can also be found in its basic form in the shape of a sail. A sail that is three-sided and connected at three points to the further storyline behind this sculpture. Jan-Carel finds wind power particularly important because Nijkerk acquired the right to the Wind in 1537. This right has been granted by Hertog Reinout III to Mr. Mulder, Molenaer of the Oostermolen (the oldest mill in Nijkerk), which until recently still partly stood here at the end of the Oosterstraat.

Beeldhouwer-Jan-Carel-Koster-Nijkerk-600-1
The sail shape can be observed

Present

Present

658 years ago on March 28, 1356, Nijkerk also obtained a right. And the right to build dikes. Once again an important aspect in the history and construction of Nijkerk. The dike can also be found at the bottom of the image, adjacent to the water.

De 3 cijfers, de 6, de 5 en de 8 zijn ook terug te vinden in de sculptuur; de 6 is reeds verbeeld in de basis.

The 5 are the 5 mooring posts at the bottom of the image that you can also see as posts to which cattle used to be tied on the square during the cattle markets for which Nijkerk was and actually still is known. Especially among the youth, because they know better than anyone that there is a Farmer’s Monday every year. That is why the 5 poles are positioned on a flat area that should symbolize the square. The square from which Farmer’s Monday draws its existence from the cattle market that is symbolically held there in the early morning. These 5 poles also symbolize the pillars on which the ‘foundation’ of the Nije kerck (now the Grote Kerk) was built by the 5 rich farmers:

  1. Slichtenhorst
  2. Holk
  3. Ark
  4. Wullenhoeve
  5. Achterhoek

This immediately clarifies how the name Nije Kerck was corrupted to Nijkerk.

The 8: at the top left, 8 winding ‘valleys’ can be recognized on the left sail. Slenken are the winding ditches that ran through the old polders. In today’s polders the ditches are straight, but in the Arkhemheen polder, which is the oldest in the Netherlands, they are still partly in their original state as they were created by the tidal currents of the Zuiderzee. They have remained so winding because the right to build dikes arose on March 28, 1356. Partly because of this, no land consolidation took place and the ditches were left as they were.

Nice detail; The moment the sculptor was making the design was March 28, 2014, exactly 658 years ago…

Nijkerk is also a village (or from now on we will also call it a city), which has always had to do with water, not only because it was located on the water, but also because of the floods that have occurred here. Think for a moment of the great flood in 1916 that left its mark throughout the city. These traces appear on the side of the sculpture where the water level can still be seen, but after which the water has regained its normal height over time. That is why you see waves on the flat part (the square) at the bottom of the image that symbolize this aspect.

Beeldhouwer-Jan-Carel-Koster-Nijkerk-600-2

Here you can clealy see the 8 valleys

Future

Future

The reason that there are 3 sail-shaped parts that come together at the bottom of the image is the fact that the Municipality of Nijkerk has consisted of 3 places since the year 2000, namely: Nijkerk, Hoevelaken and Nijkerkerveen. Seen from below (at the bottom of the ball of the 6 or the pipe), 3 lines run separately from each other to the point at the top of the image. These are the 3 places that come together at the top of the sculpture to face the future together as 1 Municipality. The point at the top should also recall the battle that was fought before 1413 between the Archbishopric of Utrecht and the Duchy of Gelre, with the village of Nijkerk in between. As a form of compensation for the destruction of the village in 1412, the Nijkerkse Municipality received city rights from 1413. The symbolism of this battle, which resulted in Nijkerk receiving city rights, is depicted as a point at the top of the image. This symbolism not only reminds us of the battles fought in the past, but we must also remember that by being proud of our past, we can focus on the present and the future with a fighting spirit and with our heads held high.


In this sculpture, all aspects of a story are connected in a natural, rhythmic way into one whole. Just as all residents of Nijkerk, Hoevelaken and Nijkerkerveen belong to this large whole, the ‘Municipality of Nijkerk’.

rojo alicante

Rojo Alicante (Red Marble)

Rojo Alicante refers to a type of red marble that is quarried in the Alicante region of southeastern Spain. This marble is known for its striking red color with white or golden veins and is widely used in various architectural and decorative applications.

Video arrival of stone

Unveiling of art assignment

Interested?

Are you interested in having a bespoke artwork made for you? There is a wide variety of possibilities, from type of (gem)stones used, dimensions and personalizations. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Jan-Carel to find out what’s possible.

Beeldhouwer Jan-Carel Koster _ Wash-Basin 5

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