Organisation - September 25, 2014

Artistic riddles

Roelof Kleis

In the grass near the bike racks behind Radix stands an artwork. It is a relief sculpture of a squatting woman who appears to be harvesting. What it is called, who made it and when, is a riddle. A riddle city poet Laurens van der Zee hopes we can solve.

Photo; A relief sculpture of a squatting woman who appears to be harvesting, standing in the grass near the bike racks behind Radix.

And it is not the only riddle to be solved. Van der Zee has a list of nearly 30 Wageningen artworks with question marks above them. Art that has disappeared, of which we only have a photo. Or art which is still there but about which precious little is known. A lot of it is art that is linked with Wageningen UR. That is why the poet is calling on us for help.  


‘Bloemfontein’ by Dick Elffers. The steel and copper sculpture was placed on the lawn behind the old laboratory for Horticultural Plant Breeding on the Haagsteeg in 1967. This is now the carpark of the Plataan sports centre. The sculpture disappeared at the turn of the century when the Boomgaarden neighbourhood was built nearby.


In the courtyard at Zodiac stands a natural stone pillar with images of farmyard animals. The pillar used to stand in the hall of Zodiac on the Marijkweg. It is most probably the work of Ab Diekerhof and dates back to 1977. Nothing more is known about it.

Van der Zee’s appeal is on behalf of the Wageningen public library, which wants to make a website documenting all the public art in Wageningen. This is not a new undertaking for the library, explains director Sjaak Driessen. ‘For about 10 years we have had files on art in public spaces. Publication of that kind of information is not new, but we want to make it more widely accessible.’


‘Agriculture and Horticulture’, a 1953 mural by Cor Hund. It is a relief sculpture which hung on the wall of the Agronomy building on the Haarweg. There is now student housing on that spot. Last seen (by Van der Zee) in 2011, in a state of neglect on the building site of Zodiac on campus.

In the verge in front of the former Jan Kopshuis on the Generaal Foulkesweg lies a large stone on an L-shaped base of white bricks. The bricks are covered in moss. A form of land art? Presumably there is a link with the former university library (demolished in 2011). More than that we do not know.

230 Items

It is no coincidence that the library has teamed up with the city poet. Van der Zee was also involved in the provincial website, which went online in 2011. The aim of this website was to draw attention to all the public art in the province. After a lot of detective work, Van der Zee tracked down 108 artworks which meet the province’s strict criteria. ‘The province is precise about it. Murals and wall decorations don’t count, for instance, nor do inscriptions on walls or conceptual art.’ The Wageningen library’s site does not have this restriction. Van der Zee: ‘The aim is to make a site that is as broad as possible, covering art and other meaningful objects in Wageningen.’ He has a total of about 230 objects in mind, almost double what the provincial site has to offer for Wageningen. For ninety percent of the art, the information has already been garnered. For the remaining 10 percent, Van der Zee is appealing to the ‘crowd’. Since last week, local media and the site cultuurinwageningen. nl have been showcasing an artistic riddle every week. The public can respond on the site wikiWageningen. nl. Resource selected five riddles related to WUR art. If you have information, please get in touch with Resource editor: The library website (www.beeldeninwageningen) is expected to go online in December

Photo's: Guy Ackermans