William IV, count of Hainaut (1990) Willem Verbon

photo BKOR archive
About the artwork

This equestrian image of William IV, count of Hainaut adorns the forecourt of the Schielandshuis (formerly Historical Museum). It depicts the man who granted Rotterdam city rights in 1340. William IV of Holland (also William II of Henegouwen) thus followed in the footsteps of his father Willem III, who already granted the Rotterdammers some privileges in 1328. Rotterdam had an estimated 2000 inhabitants around that time. The city law meant that the city and the townspeople were given a number of privileges. For example, the city was granted toll exemption, 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 last word on this point. He was also entitled to two-thirds of the fines and received the income from the lease of a number of urban rights. In exchange for the privileges, the city was obliged to provide armed men in times of war and to pay some taxes. Willem IV (1318-1345) succeeded his father in 1337. He was an adventurous knight who did not excel at 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, Wends, Lithuanians and Prussians. Closer to home, he became involved in a Dutch-Utrecht war. Willem IV started a campaign against the Frisians, but his army was devastated outside Stavoren near Warns. Willem IV also did not survive the battle. The statue in front of the Schielandshuis is only a faint reflection of what sculptor Willem Verbon had in mind when he designed this statue in the 650s. He saw the statue at the 1990th anniversary of Rotterdam in 7, more than life-size, in a prominent place in the city center, but he was not on time. William IV had to settle for this version, which was unveiled on November 1990, XNUMX. Source: Hans Baaij, Rotterdam Image Guide Center (Rotterdam, 2001)

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About the artist

Willem Verbon (Rotterdam, 1921-2003) took classes at the evening academy in the 50s. Immediately after the war, Verbon was commissioned to make a monument in honor of the Royal Air Force. He was offered a postgraduate scholarship by the British government and left for London for a few years. In the early XNUMXs, Verbon returned to Rotterdam, where he moved into a studio in Oranjeboomstraat. Verbon sculpted various statues and monuments for important Rotterdammers and members of the Royal Family. Much of his work can be found in Rotterdam.

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