Statue of Gerard Philips en route

Statue Gerard Philips
Photo credit: Omroep Brabant (Jan Peels)

Gerard is on its way to his brother Anton and cousin Frits. Those two famous descendants of the Philips family already have a statue in Eindhoven. Soon a seven-metre high bust of Philips’ founder will be added, in the Gloeilampplantsoen. Last Saturday, the steel statue set off by boat from Millingen aan den Rijn to Gerard’s birthplace Zaltbommel, for a short stay.

The giant bust of Gerard Philips (1858-1942), founder of the famous electronics company, should arrive in its final destination, Eindhoven, this Monday. Artist Andreas Hetfeld worked on the technical masterpiece with a team of eight experts in a shipyard in Millingen aan de Rijn, Gelderland. It took nine months to complete, reports Omroep Brabant.

Layers of significance

The artwork has an opening in the shape of a human-sized lightbulb, enabling visitors to  walk through the statue. It is seven metres high and eight metres wide, composed of five hundred layers of steel with 4659 individual parts. The welded steelwork is a gift from Philips to the Eindhoven municipality on the occasion of the electronics company’s 130th anniversary.

Hetfeld says: “Over the years, Philips has been a company with many layers of significance. This is translated into the sculpture, which is made of hundreds of metal rings. One by one, on top of each other and connected to each other. From a distance, the statues looks like it’s made of one piece, but from up close the fragmentation and layers become visible.”

Philips’ first light bulb

Early last Saturday morning, ‘Gerard’ left by boat for Zaltbommel, the city where he was born. The special transport attracted a lot of attention. In Nijmegen, lots of people stood on the quay as the statue passed by. Zaltbommel too, was crowded with people eagerly awaiting the statue of Gerard passing under the Waal bridge. “This is where he made his first light bulb, in his mother’s laundry room,” a proud Zaltbommel native Adri van Veen recalls. “Eindhoven and Zaltbommel belong together as far as Philips history is concerned,” says Jan Menken Hopma.

Engineer, manufacturer and husband

“The trip across the Waal went very smoothly, Gerard glided very calmly over the water,” Andreas Hetfeld says. “It was enjoyable. The best thing was to see how the sculpture looked outdoors, what the sun did and what effect the glint of the water had. It was also nice that it stopped here in Zaltbommel on its way to Eindhoven. Gerard’s urn is buried here as is his wife’s, which is nice symbolism,” said the artist. “The artwork is a tribute to Gerard as an engineer, a manufacturer and as a human being. He has been very important for the development of the Eindhoven region.”

Transported in parts

Until Monday, the 23,000 kilos weighing giant will remain in the Zaltbommel port where it was beautifully highlighted yesterday evening. Then, on Monday 1 May, it will be transported to Eindhoven by road, in parts. The head of the statue consists of two parts and can be detached from the torso. Otherwise the steelwork can’t pass under the many bridges on the road to Eindhoven.

Temporarily placed

On Monday 15 May, the founding date of the Philips company, the artwork will be officially handed over by Philips CEO Roy Jakobs to Eindhoven mayor Jeroen Dijsselbloem. The artwork will be temporarily placed in the Gloeilampplantsoen on Strijp-T in Eindhoven. After the Victoriapark in the city centre is finished, the sculpture will be moved there. The park is situated very near Gerard’s first factory on the Emmasingel.

Source: Studio040

Translator: Martijn

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