North Island

Unveiling of the Stieltjes monument on 9 September

For the first time in history, the Stieltjes Monument on the Noordereiland will look like it was once designed. The placement of the white marble portrait medallion is seen as the special finale of the restoration work on the monument. Islanders found a partner in BKOR for the development of the area, together with the municipality of Rotterdam. They collaborated intensively to improve the quality of public spaces with art and greenery.


The official unveiling of the Stieltjes Monument takes place at 15: 30 hours, and is done by Mayor Aboutaleb. Then, at 16: 00 hours, the program starts in Ons Park with a snack and a drink and various tours around art, heritage and greenery. Villa Zebra provides a workshop for children this afternoon: Make your own Timmer image.

With the completion of the Stieltjes monument, on the initiative of the Montmartre aan de Maas Foundation, the Burgemeester Hoffmanplein and Ons Park at the Heftalud on the Noordereiland are also brought to the attention. Both locations underwent a makeover - the square in 2017 and the park in 2015 - initiated by concerned residents. The monument now stands out beautifully on the renovated Burgemeester Hoffmanplein, which was realized on the basis of original design drawings and has been given a romantic atmosphere. There will be various activities around the unveiling in Ons Park at the Heftalud, with special attention for the artwork placed in 2015 Giraffes van Kees Timmer (1903-1978).

The Stieltjes Monument
The Stieltjes monument was unveiled in 1884 at Burgemeester Hoffmanplein on Noordereiland. The statue of the German architect Eugen Gugel was designed in memory of the hydraulic engineer Thomas Joannes Stieltjes, who lived from 1819 to 1878. Stieltjes is seen as the architect of the construction of the ports in Feijenoord, south of the Nieuwe Maas, which made the great flourishing of Rotterdam as a port city possible, and was therefore responsible for the creation of the Noordereiland. The original portrait medallion from engineer Stieltjes was designed by sculptor Eugène Lacomblé.

Back to the original grandeur
The restoration of the Stieltjes monument was started by the Montmartre Foundation on the Maas, with the intention of restoring the monument to its original grandeur. They sought cooperation with the municipality of Rotterdam and the Rijksdienst Monumentenzorg. BKOR - responsible for art in the public areas of the neighborhoods at CBK Rotterdam - was involved in the restoration. In 2015 they started removing red coats of paint from the red sandstone column, or the needle. Thanks to fundraising by Montmartre on the Maas, the original fencing could be recreated in 2015. The original medallion, in storage at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, has been copied. The white marble version replaces the current bronze version.

The medallion: from bronze to marble
A bronze medallion was used to place the original monument. The bronze copy, however, is artistically of a poor quality, in contrast to the much more refined white marble original. The original was never placed because it was considered too fragile. In 1930, local residents asked for a renovation of the monument, and that happened. They also asked for placement of the original medallion, which did not happen. 85 years later, local residents expressed the same desire. CBK Rotterdam picked up this request together with Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. MeestersIn carried out an 3D scan of the original medallion in the museum's depot. A sculptor elaborated on the portrait. This summer, as a completion of the restoration, a marble copy of the medallion will finally be placed in the monument.

More information
• About the Stieltjes monument
• About Ons Park
• About the Giraffes and Kees Timmer
• About Heritage Day

Partners and financing involved
Financing for the Noordereiland: BVN (the former residents' association Noordereiland), Stichting Montmarte aan de Maas and Anne Mieke Backer. Historical research Noordereiland, Burgermeester Hoffmanplein, Stieltjes monument: Anne Mieke Backer, Arij de Boode, publisher de HEF. The Cultural Heritage and City Management Department funded the restoration of the needle, which was carried out by MeestersIn. The reconstruction of the fencing was made possible by Stichting Montmartre aan de Maas, which found funding at the Erasmus Foundation, G.Ph. Verhagen Foundation, Foundation for the Promotion of Popular Power, Foundation for the Preservation and Management of Burgemeester Hoffmanplein, STOER Foundation, Prince Bernard Culture Fund and anonymous gifts. The copy of the original medallion was made possible by CBK Rotterdam, G.Ph. Verhagen Foundation and Montmartre Foundation on the Maas. This was produced by MeestersIn, in consultation with Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and BKOR.

Thanks to
Anne Mieke Backer, Ronald van den Bos, Marjo Stenfert Kroese, Ad Oskam, municipality of Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.