The original bust of architect Pierre Cuypers is back in its place

Pierre Cuypers at the bust in 1917, his grandson on the left

Met in collaboration


NOS News

The original bust of Pierre Cuypers, one of the Netherlands’ most famous architects, is back in its place. The statue will be unveiled on May 16 in the Teekenschool he designed in his hometown of Roermond.

“When we heard that the real Pierre was still there and even available, we thought: we have to go after that,” says director Huub Narinx of the Limburg Employers’ Association at L1Nieuws. “In such a beautiful building with authentic elements, you need an authentic look.”

Pierre Cuypers was an extremely productive architect (1827-1921) who stood out not only in Limburg, but throughout the Netherlands for his architectural style. Experts speak of ‘romantic neo-Gothic’: large buildings with high towers, vaults, pinnacles and many decorations.

Well-known buildings by his hand include the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Amsterdam Central Station, St. Vitus Church in Hilversum and De Haar Castle near Utrecht. In Roermond he built, among other things, the Cuypershuis and the Teekenschool.

Amsterdam Central Station, opened in 1889

Cuypers’ grandson made the bust when the architect celebrated his 90th birthday in 1917. The statue was originally placed at the top of the stairwell of, in full, the Drawing school for useful and visual arts in the city center of Roermond. That was no coincidence. Cuypers was closely associated with the school and handled numerous functions within the educational institution.

The Teekenschool started in the 1960s in the Roman Catholic School Community Dr. Cuypers. When the school moved in 1990, the statue moved with it. But due to a fall risk it was severely damaged in 2012. Because it was too expensive to have the statue restored (immediately), it ended up in the depot of the Cuypershuis in Roermond.

Plaster statue

In the meantime, the Teekenschool was renovated. When the building was completed, a bronzed plaster statue of the architect was placed in the stairwell. “Many people don’t even know that the image was not original,” says Huub Narinx.

The plaster statue was a thorn in his side. Precisely because the Limburg Employers’ Association now owns the former Teekenschool and uses it as an office building.

“It is a striking hall with a special staircase,” says Narinx. “The bust is so prominent that we always thought there was a plaster version.” Narinx therefore decided to look for the original.

The stairwell of the Teekenschool

That search quickly yielded results. The school turned out to have loaned the bust to the Cuyperiana heritage foundation. The original pedestal was donated to the foundation.

Together with Cuyperiana, the Limburg Employers’ Association removed the bust from the depot and had it restored. In the meantime, it is back in the stairwell, although the public is not even curious about what it looks like now. The statue will be unveiled on May 16, Cuypers’ birthday. “There is now a sheet over it,” says Narinx. “We didn’t think we did Ozze Pierre can leave uncovered until then.”