The new Jan van Schaffelaar

By Jan-Carel Koster

Barnevelds Hero

Commissioned by the Municipality of Barneveld, Jan-Carel made a stone sculpture of the Barneveld folk hero Jan van Schaffelaar. This sculpture is located at the Town Hall in the center of Barneveld and is a full-size seated knight, carved in stone (Diabas stone).

Technical Information

Material:  Diabase
Origins:  Germany
Weight of rock:  2500 kg

Jan van Schaffelaar was a ‘Kabeljauwse’ Captain who, according to tradition, met his end after he jumped from the tower of Barneveld, which was besieged by the ‘Hoeken’. There has been a statue of this hero on the square in front of the tower since 1903. He jumped from here on July 16, 1482 to save his companions.

Read more about Jan van Schaffelaar on Wikipedia.

The face

“Making the face is always a lot of fun to do. But what kind of face? No one knows what Jan van Schaffelaar from 1482 looked like. This means that every face is possible under the helmet. For that reason I thought it would be a nice idea to portray my grandfather in this. But as the process of creating this hero followed, it didn’t feel right to me. I decided to portray my own father instead of my grandfather. Partly because my father is still alive and my grandfather is no longer. But also because I owe at least as much to my father as I do to my grandfather. People who know my father will recognize his face, although he is of course not wearing glasses. Furthermore, of course it had to be a face that was appropriate for such a sculpture and in my opinion it now is.”

The story

Me, Jan van Schaffelaar

By Marti Jansen

On November 24, 2017, the statue of a seated Jan van Schaffelaar was unveiled. Finally!

Because Jan stood for no less than 114 years at the famous church tower from which he jumped. And certainly, he will remain there, but he now also takes a trip through the cozy center of Barneveld, where the whispers of the past still softly echo against the shop buildings. And circle around the Raadhuisplein via the old paving stones, where the carillon listens to its bronze ears and keeps the stories alive in its playing.

And when he has entered the Jan van Schaffelaarstraat, somewhat stiff from standing, he turns onto the Dijkje. And at the end, where the Dijkje comes together at the intersection with the Raadhuisplein, De Nieuwstraat and Nairacstraat, he takes a rest and sinks down on his pedestal. It’s not easy wearing this heavy armor. He sits very still. He is proud of this village. He has to chuckle to himself for a moment, after all there are so many stories about him. What they do know is that he sacrificed himself for his companions on that particular summer afternoon in July 1482. The blow was hard when he hit the earth. He had looked back for a moment when, a few years ago, they marked the spot where he had fallen and had lain seriously injured for a while, before his Hoek enemies dealt him the fatal blow. But now he no longer has to just stand. Now he takes a daily walk and always rests in this place. He sees the councilor looking at him out the window. A few schoolchildren come over and sit on the bench next to him. He feels one of the children watching him intently. “You know,” the boy says to his friends, “That Jan van Schaffelaar here used to be quite a hero, he jumped from the tower of the big church there.” He points diagonally across the town hall to the spire of the old church. His friends gather around the statue and look intently at the beautifully sculpted figure. “I know the sculptor of this statue of Jan,” says another, “He is also called Jan, at least partly, because his first name is Jan-Carel.” The other boys nod. They also know the sculptor of this beautiful statue. “Yes, that’s right,” says the third, “his name is Jan-Carel Koster, a native of Barnevelder and quite famous abroad. “Really!?”, the first one now says, “wow, I wish I could sculpt like that. By the way, that face looks familiar.’ Suddenly there is a tapping of a stick on the vowels. “Hello, young people,” comes the jovial voice behind them, “you might well know that face.” The boys look in amazement at the man with the stick, they recognize him immediately. It’s the mayor! The mayor continues, ‘That face is derived from the father of the visual artist, Chris Koster. Nice right?’

“Maybe we will one day become the country’s art city.” he concludes with a smile. He nods to the boys and turns around. But before he walks any further he suddenly says, ‘Be proud of our Jannen, both the one who sits here so proudly and the one who created him so artfully.’ The boys nod silently and watch the beloved mayor go. Then they turn around and look at the silent image of the proud horseman chieftain.

“You know,” one breaks the silence, “if Jan only knew what was being said about him, he would be so proud. And he had to know that a statue would be made of him for the heroic leap he once made to save the lives of his friends. “That’s right!” his friend concludes and hits the cold stone with a friendly pat on the back. With one last look at the statue, the boys pack their school bags and stroll further into the village center. Jan van Schaffelaar watches the boys under his helmet. He feels the pride swelling beneath his armor. It is also time to stand under the tower again. If only they knew, he has discovered the secret of time. Wherever they look, he will always be standing on his pedestal under the tower, but thanks to that great artist Jan-Carel Koster, he can now also make his rounds and sit quietly on the bench near the Dijkje. He looks around for a moment, he sees the councilor looking at him again, could he suspect something? He smiles unseen. He recognizes the song that the carillon plays in the tower of the old town hall. It is the nostalgic verse Het Dorp.

You know what, I’ll stay a while…

Marti Jansen


The film

jan-carel searching rock


Diabase is a beautiful hard type of stone that is ideal for creating a sculpture in public spaces. Not only for its quality, but also for its color. The stone comes from the south of Germany, where a vein of approximately 800 km is hidden in the ground. There used to be many quarries that mined this stone, but nowadays there is only 1 open quarry that mines this stone. Unfortunately, little thought is given to the sculptors.

Technical aspects

Parts of the sculpture have been worked out with the chisel, leaving the order strokes visible. Other parts have been finished with a file and other parts have been completely or partially polished. This creates a beautiful color shade that Jan-Carel uses to give the statue more depth.



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.



Jan-Carel Koster

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