The giant of Rotterdam (2011) Herman Lamers

Otto Snoek
About the artwork

Since June 2011 has been a work of art for Rigardus Rijnhout (1922-1959) in the Oude Westen neighborhood park, better known as The giant of Rotterdam. Rijnhout suffered from the growth disorder acromegaly, which made him 2 meters 37 tall. Its rapid growth took place at the same time as Rotterdam was growing at a rapid pace. Rijnhout lived in the Gouvernestraat, near the park where his statue was placed. This monument symbolizes the position of 'the underdog', but at the same time also represents the 'growth' of the city of Rotterdam. The artwork is an initiative of Stichting De Reus van Rotterdam.
'Rijn', as his family called him, was probably the greatest man who ever lived in the Netherlands. He weighed 230 kilos and had a shoe size of 62. In the 40s and 50s of the last century, Rijnhout was, against your will and gratitude, a true city attraction. When he walked through the city, he often had a swarm of prying eyes around him. And although he was often bullied for his gigantic stature, he remained friendly. That meekness was probably also a symptom of his illness and made him little resilient to people who made fun of him or wanted to take advantage of him. Rijnhout earned his living by advertising as a sandwich man and was frequently photographed for advertising purposes. In his last years, after he ended up in a wheelchair due to a fall from his bicycle, he sold postcards of himself. When he finally had to go to hospital at the age of 36, the police had to shut off the Gouvernestraat to keep all thrill seekers at a distance. The sick person became ill with a crane Reus Tilted down from the second floor. He died at the Academic Hospital in Leiden.
De Reus van Rotterdam Foundation, in particular initiator Sander de Kramer, approached CBK Rotterdam for a tribute. Both institutions chose Herman Lamers' proposal from a few sketch assignments. At the request of the family, he made a naturalistically similar picture of the Reus in bronze. This is at its actual size in the contours of a house made of concrete. On a raised platform there is a door frame of a normal size with a chair and shoes of giant dimensions. Because Rijnhout was bullied a lot, he preferred to stay indoors. This gives passers-by the feeling that they can visit him and get close to him. By walking up the plateau, they get the feeling that it was always like being stared at. Lamers made the design and realized the artwork with his team. Floris Schuller, Geert Schuurmans and CVOS were responsible for the implementation. AH Hoveniers, Frans den Adel, Gieterij Kemner, PSD Beton and Rob de Vree provided the technology and placement.

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About the artist

Herman Cornelis Lamers (Bussum, 1954) is a Rotterdam sculptor, installation artist, photographer and draftsman. He studied from 1975 to 1980 at the Minerva Academy in Groningen. He always works in a spatial, sometimes abstract but more often in a figurative visual language, always dependent on and in relation to the environment. His work can be seen in galleries and exhibition spaces and he has various commissions in public space, including a number in Rotterdam.

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