The Berkhemer fountain statue is finally in place


The project can be closed after three years

By Arjen Dieperink

LOCHEM – It took three years, but for the initiators it was more than worth the wait. Last Thursday, the fountain sculpture by the artist Willem Hendrik Berkhemer (1917-1998) was commissioned in the middle of Monuta Kamperman’s lawn on Zutphenseweg, amid the interest of seventy interested parties.

Toon van den Boogaard from Monuta Kamperman spoke to those present. He said that Monuta Kamperman is proud that the fountain statue, or rather the cascade, has been moved from the ‘neighbor’s lot’ (the adjacent New Cemetery) to its current location. “For some, it was a landmark in the cemetery near the urn wall, where people could stop for a moment in thought. But here at the approach road to Lochem it comes into its own even better”. The initiators of the project, Ab Braakman, Sjef van Hoorn, Wout Klein, Wim Marsman and Wilma Nijenhuis-ten Arve, were especially thanked for their stimulating work.

To renovate, move and rebuild the cascade, help was called in for material and labor from Kreunen Bouw Lochem BV and Hoftijzer Lochem BV Financial contributions from many private donors, Historical Society Lochem-Laren-Barchem, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and Lochem Support Fund 1819 were very welcome. The chairman of the Lions Club Lochem-Berkelland West Lubbert Baarsen was present with several other members of his club. “We have also been asked to make a financial contribution to this project. For this we have a committee that evaluates the applications we receive. Positive advice was given to the members of our club, and that is why we are here today”, says Baarsen. Fonds Maatschappelijk Belang Lochem and Hulpfonds de Berkel were also among the financiers of the project.

Former deputy headmaster
Peter van Schuffelen, former deputy director of the National Schools Community (RSG), worked for thirty years at the school community on Doctor Cartier van Disselweg, where the statue stood until 2007. He briefly described the origins of the school. He was surprised that Staring College, the eventual successor to RSG, was never interested in Berkhemer’s cascade. The statue eventually had to go because the school building was demolished. The former deputy principal was pleased that a good place has now been found for it.

Special guest
One of the guests at the ceremony was Joan Berkhemer (1951), son of the creator of the statue. He is a well-known Dutch violinist, conductor and composer. Joan behaved modestly during the ceremony, sitting on a bench in the last row of those present. Once asked to come forward, he said: “I’d rather play the violin in front of a group of people than talk to them. The latter doesn’t go well when you’re playing,” smiled Joan. He remembered his father’s life. “He got tasked with making the cascade and traveled to the quarry in Arcen for this. But there was actually too little budget to make the statue, so my father slept in the quarry. At night he was there alone and in his imagination he saw demons moving through the quarry. He also did not have the right tools to make the sculpture, and the project was therefore in danger of failure. Fortunately, my mother intervened and sent a colleague to my father, Harry Mol, to teach him how such a large work of art could be made. It was his salvation.”

Former students
Among those present was former student of RSG and later teacher at this school Cobi Stratingh-Beumer. She was present at the opening of RSG in 1962. She told Joan Berkhemer. “We had to sing Jules de Corte’s song. It was the song ‘I would like to know.’ After Joan Berkhemer’s answer, Coby understands why her RSG choir had to sing that song. Willem Berkhemer and Jules de Corte knew each other.

Subsequently, the group gathered around the work of Willem Hendrik Berkhemer. Councilor Wendy Goodin spoke. She also has fond memories of her RSG days and recalled that the fountain statue played an important role. “On certain occasions, such as the graduation ceremony, pictures were taken by the fountain,” she recalls. Soon after, the alderman switched on the lighting of the fountain, the official act of opening. This means that Berkhemer’s art can now also be clearly seen from public roads.

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