William IV, count of Hainaut (1990) Willem Verbon

BKOR archive
About the artwork

This equestrian image of William IV, count of Hainaut adorns the forecourt of the Schielandshuis (formerly Historical Museum). It represents the man who granted Rotterdam city law in 1340. William IV of Holland (also William II of Hainaut) thus followed in the footsteps of his father William III, who already granted the Rotterdammers some privileges in 1328. Around that time, Rotterdam had an estimated 2000 population. City law meant that the city and the townspeople were given a number of privileges. For example, the city was granted toll freedom, permission to hold two annual fairs, exemption from a number of taxes and extensive powers in the field of administration and justice, although the count had the final say on this. He was also entitled to two-thirds of the fines and received the income from the leasing of a number of urban rights. In exchange for privileges, the city was obliged to deliver armed men and pay some taxes in times of war. Willem IV (1318-1345) succeeded his father in 1337. He was an adventurous knight who did not excel in diplomacy. He lived - and died - by the sword. In the eight years of his reign, he made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and fought with Moors, Wenden, Lithuanians, and Prussia. Closer to home, he became embroiled in a Dutch-Utrecht war. William IV started a campaign against the Frisians, but his army was chopped outside of Stavoren near Warns. William IV did not survive the battle either. The sculpture for the Schielandshuis is only a slight reflection of what sculptor Willem Verbon envisioned when he designed this sculpture in the 1970s. He saw the image of Rotterdam's 650 anniversary in 1990 more than life-size in a prominent place in the city center, but he didn't have the time. William IV had to settle for this performance, which was unveiled on November 7 1990. Source: Hans Baaij, Rotterdam Image Guide Center (Rotterdam, 2001)

read more
About the artist

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.

read more