The community workers (1940) Koos van Vlijmen

photo Otto Snoek
About the artwork

These two images are regarded as the earliest ode to the reconstruction of Rotterdam. During the war, almost immediately after the bombing of Rotterdam in 1940, artist Koos van Vlijmen sculpted two workmen whom he The community workers mentioned. Van Vlijmen was inspired by social realism. The Rotterdam construction workers, the men who went to work after the bombing to clean up and rebuild the city, are broad-shouldered, boldly look forward and carry their tools like Kalashnikovs. One has a hammer in hand and the other has a saw and pliers. The cement of the statues is smoothed and painted grey/white. The community workers are placed on pillars more than 2 meters high and were added in 1940 to the emergency shops in front of the post office on the Coolsingel. They stood on either side of a passageway that connected the emergency shopping street to the Laurenskerk via a bare plain: they seemed to function as gatekeepers. The statues were later moved to a shopping center in Pendrecht. They were unveiled there on Construction Day 18 May 1956.

read more
About the artist

Koos van Vlijmen (Rotterdam, 1909 - 1989) was a sculptor and graphic artist. He was part of 'The Circle of Visual Artists R33', an association of visual artists founded in 1933 Rotterdam. Other members of R33 were Henk Chabot, Dolf Henkes, Marius Richters and Piet van Stuivenberg.

read more