Gerard Philips statue in the making

Gerald Philips statue Picture credit: Studio040

Subdued and modest. These personal characteristics are reflected in the statue of Gerard Philips, which will be placed in downtown Eindhoven this spring. Artist Andreas Hetfeld is busy in a shed working on the tribute to the founder of the electronics company.

Technical problem and solution

The process of putting the first screw in the right place and attaching the final plate to Gerard’s crown takes about nine months. In the first phase, Andreas was immediately put to the test by a technique he knew nothing about. “There was a risk of considerable corrosion if I had stuck to my original design. I had to find a solution. Talks with people who know more about engineering led to the decision to put 50,000 small screws between the plates”.

Statue with screws to prevent corrosion Picture credit: Studio040

The hidden man

The technical problems were not the only thing Andreas and his team encountered. The biggest challenge was capturing the real Gerard Philips in a seven-metre-high steel sculpture”. It is my custom to enter into conversation with the person I am making a design or bust of. I couldn’t do that this time, so I started researching who this man was. I had to find out who he was, how best to commemorate him and how best to shape that”.


Brother Anton and cousin Frits Philips already have a statue in the city, and may also enjoy greater fame. The family’s techie, Gerard, preferred to stay in the background. He founded world-famous Philips in 1891. He was behind the scenes in the company, innovating and streamlining the technical side. With a straightforward design, the artist thinks he is paying tribute to the quiet force behind Philips.


Gerard may have been modest as a person, his bust is considerably larger than the statues of his family members. That makes transporting the statue quite an undertaking. From the shipyard in Millingen aan de Rijn, where the statue is still in the making, it must be moved to downtown Eindhoven.

The statue is divided into three parts. Hetfeld says,”The head consists of two parts and can be detached from the torso. Otherwise it can’t pass under the many overpasses on the road to Eindhoven anyway. I still think the best option is to transport it by ship, but we still have some time to see what the best option is”. The statue will be unveiled in May in the Light Bulb Plaza at Strijp-T. When the Victoria Park near the Emmasingel is finished, the bust will have a permanent place there.


Philips is giving the sculpture as a gift to the city of Eindhoven on the occasion of the firm’s 130th anniversary.


Translated by: Anitha Sevugan


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  1. Laying off 6000 worker doesn’t solve Philips problem. Philips reputation was always best on good service integrity and product design


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