The Dom’s Architect

Jan van den DoemI’m a tab hoarder in my browser and regularly have more tabs open than is really necessary, but often they’re made up of things that I want to write about. However, sometimes I feel like they require more research than I have time or energy for, so they sit there for month after month. This is one of those topics that I’m finally just going to post what I know and if anyone else has better or additional information, they’re more than welcome to share.

This post started because of this photo that I took of one of the statues in the Pandhof of the Dom cathedral. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked around it, looked at it, and in this case, photographed it, but then never gave it much more thought. I guess I was distracted by all of the gargoyles. But then, a few months ago, I finally wondered if it was a statue of a saint or someone else. Curious, I started Googling.

What I learned is that it’s a relatively modern sculpture of the first architect of the current cathedral and/or the Domtoren. There’s some confusion over the names, but it seems that he was known as Jan van Henegouwen, but sometimes misnamed as Jan van den Doem, who was a later architect. Not surprisingly, for a structure so large, the building process went on for a number of years and there were multiple head architects throughout the project. Some information lists Jan van Henegouwen as the first architect of the Domtoren, whereas Jan van den Doem is listed as the first architect of the cathedral and Pandhof. I do have a book that probably explains it all, but I’m short on time, so I’ll try to do some more research and update if I learn anything more.

For now, a few details on this specific sculpture, though. It does seem to be meant to be Jan van den Doem, the architect of the cathedral and Pandhof. The sculpture was installed in 1989 (practically yesterday!) by sculptor Paul Grégoire (Amsterdam 1915 – Amsterdam 1988), presumably after his death. His son is also a sculptor, so perhaps he finished it/attended its installation. It turns out that there’s another sculpture by Paul Grégoire on Mariaplaats that I quite like. The sculpture of Jan van den Doem includes a beaver down by his feet and a plumb rule in his hand, symbols of an architect.

It was a nice, “Ah! Of course!” moment when I finally found out the subject of the sculpture. Nice to think that the architect gets a bit of a nod after all these centuries!

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2 thoughts on “The Dom’s Architect

    • Twins! I have a love/hate relationship with losing open tabs. It does help me scale back, but the anxiety over trying to remember what was open is awful. I’m sure I’ve lost some “really important stuff”. 😉 Somehow I’ve managed to hold on to one from December 2011. I should probably just Pin it now, since I still don’t know when I’ll get around to doing anything with it.

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