World Soil Museum ISRIC has a sponsor: Royal Eijkelkamp Soil & Water, a specialist in measuring and sampling equipment for water, soil and the deeper substrate.
Board chair Fons Eijkelkamp of the Giesbeek company visited the museum last autumn with a group of retired former employees when he caught sight of a photo of a man forging an Edelman drill, says museum manager Stephan Mantel. ‘That was his father. It made a big impression. Which is what started the ball rolling.’
The story of the Edelman drill is a classic, one that made it to the list of key historical facts compiled by the Dutch Soil Science Society. Wageningen Agricultural College was closed in the final years of the Second World War. The professor of Soil Science at that time, Cees Edelman, was in hiding in the Bommelerwaard district where he did research with some students. To create soil maps, they used a drill from Hamburg.
When the drill broke, the Lathum village smith Jan Eijkelkamp was called in to repair it. After the war, the smith decided to start manufacturing the drill. Jan Eijkelkamp was the father of the current board chair and the grandfather of the current boss of Royal Eijkelkamp, the company that grew from that smithy. The drill is named after Edelman because the Wageningen professor used it to create the first complete soil map of the Netherlands.
Eijkelkamp is ISRIC’s first sponsor but Mantel would be happy to see more. ‘Scientific collections are always under threat and sponsoring gives the museum more scope and a more secure future.’ Eijkelkamp has made financial commitments to the museum for three years. Mantel says the money will at any rate be spent on the collection. In return, the company gets a visible presence in the museum.