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 acromegaly growth disorder, making him 2 meters 37 tall. His rapid growth took place at the same time that 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 also represents the 'growth' of the city of Rotterdam. The artwork is an initiative of the De Reus Foundation of Rotterdam.
"Rhine," as his family called him, was probably the greatest man who ever lived in the Netherlands. He weighed 230 kilos and had shoe size 62. In the years '40 and' 50 of the last century, Rijnhout was, against all wishes, a true city attraction. As he walked through the city, he often had a swarm of scoopers around him. And although he was often bullied because of his gigantic build, he remained friendly. That gentleness, too, was probably a symptom of his illness and caused him to have little resistance to people who mocked him or wanted to abuse him. Among other things, Rijnhout earned his living by advertising as a sandwich man and was frequently photographed for advertisements. In his final years, after falling into a wheelchair due to a fall from his bicycle, he sold postcards of himself. When he finally had to go to the hospital at the age of 36, the police had to drop Gouvernestraat off to keep all sensation seekers at a distance. The patient became ill with a crane Reus Tilted down from the second floor. He died at the Academic Hospital in Leiden.
The De Reus Foundation of Rotterdam, in particular initiator Sander de Kramer, approached CBK Rotterdam for a tribute. From a few sketch assignments, both institutions chose a proposal from Herman Lamers. He made - at the request of the family - a naturalistic image 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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