Progress, Industry, Trade, Agriculture and Shipping (1898) Simon Miedema

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About the artwork

For a long time, the White House was the highest office building in the Netherlands. It was built in 1897-1898 after a design by Willem Molenbroek for the Gerrit and Herman van der Schuyt brothers. The building is built in Art Nouveau style and has eleven floors. Six sculptures by sculptor Simon Miedema were originally placed at the first floor. The sandstone figures are under a canopy and on pedestals, both made of freestone. After the bombing of 1940, there are five figures left, namely the personifications of 'Maritime', 'Progress', 'Agriculture', 'Industry' and 'Trade'. The sixth statue 'Labor' was destroyed in the Second World War. The figures are on round trays with gilded inscriptions. 'Zeevaart' was originally on the north façade, but after the war it was relocated to the south façade of the White House to replace 'Arbeid'. There are few physical memories of the 19 century left in Rotterdam, but Miedema's sculptures recall this period. They express the Rotterdam entrepreneurial spirit. These works of art form an inseparable part of the remarkable White House; the first skyscraper in Rotterdam and even designated by some as the first skyscraper in Europe. The White House is in the top 100 of Dutch UNESCO monuments.

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About the artist

Simon Miedema (Harlingen, 1860 - Rotterdam, 1934) was a Dutch sculptor who studied at the Academy of Visual Arts and Technical Sciences in Rotterdam. Miedema was active in an architectural society, to which he was awarded commissions for sculpture and ornamentation in Renaissance and Louis styles. His style remained 19e century. He has made several sculptures in the Maas city, including the facade images of the White House on the Wijnhaven.

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