Land and sea (1955) Willem Verbon & Louis van Roode
In 1955, Rotterdam artists Willem Verbon and Louis van Roode were commissioned to design façade decorations for the branch of De Nederlandsche Bank in the context of the National Percentage Scheme. They made two beautiful reliefs for the east and west façades, which are attached to the bronze columns that appear to support the roof under the roof trims of the building. Each relief has the size of 2.50 by 10 meter. Verbon and Van Roode chose themes and subjects that had a lot to do with the character of Rotterdam as a port city. The copper lace reliefs were given the title Land and sea. The relief on the east façade depicts the land through corn stalks, foliage, birds and the sun. The relief on the west façade depicts the sea by means of sailing ships on the waves, gulls and a compass. The material used, the more abstract presentation method and the non-human symbolism distinguish these facade decorations from the works on the former bank buildings of the Robaver on the Coolsingel and the Nederlandsche Handelsmaatschappij on the Blaak. Nevertheless, the theme here too is peace, fertility and prosperity, as is customary in the reconstruction period. Unfortunately, during renovation work on the building in 2011, some parts of the relief on the east facade were stolen by copper thieves. Since the spring of 2016, the office building, originally designed by architect Henri Zwiers, has been reopened under the name 'De Nieuwe Boompjes'. The building has been a municipal monument since 1991.
Willem Verbon (Rotterdam, 1921-2003) attended classes at the evening academy in the 1930s. Immediately after the war, Verbon was commissioned to create a monument in honor of the Royal Air Force. He was offered a post-graduate scholar ship by the British government and left for London for a few years. In the early years of 50, Verbon returned to Rotterdam, where he moved into a studio in the Oranjeboomstraat. Verbon sculpted various statues and monuments for important people from Rotterdam and members of the Royal Family. A lot of his work can be found in Rotterdam.