Stronger through combat (1951) Hank Hans

City Archives Rotterdam
About the artwork

The statue is in the middle of the hall of the town hall Stronger through combat, a gift from Queen Wilhelmina. The statue is carved from one block of Carrar marble by sculptor Hank Hans. She designed a David figure, who clubbed a German eagle with his club. On the base of the statue, the words 'Stronger by struggle' are carved in capital gold letters. Queen Wilhelmina gave this weapon saying to Rotterdam on 19 January 1948, almost three years after the end of the Second World War. The base is 1.50 meters high and the figure is 2.50 meters. To get the necessary contrast with the floor of the hall, which is made of the same marble, the statue is not polished. The whole weighs 6.000 kilos. In order to be able to bear it, the floor has been reinforced via the basement with a concrete pillar. On November 30 1951 Her Majesty Queen Juliana unveiled the statue in the presence of her mother.

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About the artist

Sculptor Johanna Hendrika (known as Hank, Hanke, Anke) Hans (The Hague, 1919 - Rotterdam, 2015) was trained at the Academy of Visual Arts in Rotterdam before the war. In 1940 she moved to Amsterdam, where she attended the Rijksacademie and was taught by sculptor Jan Bronner. In 1945 she returned to the port city, where she presented her most famous statue Stronger through combat made. The 3,5 meter-high marble work is in the hall of the town hall on Coolsingel and is a gift from Queen Wilhelmina to the city of Rotterdam. During the reconstruction period, Hans also worked extensively on behalf of architects such as Kees Elffers and Joost Boks on facing bricks and reliefs. She also produced various works of art for schools outside of Rotterdam and made medals and medals for, for example, the Rotterdam Art Foundation and the Book Week. Hank Hans lived in Kralingen and was still active as an artist until a very old age. She painted and made watercolors. People are central in her oeuvre, but nature is also an important source of inspiration.

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