Groningen’s Lost City Gate
Everyone knows the Greeks would like the Elgin marbles to be returned to Athens. But the people of Groningen would also like one of their city gates to be handed back.
The handsome renaissance city gate known as the Herepoort currently stands at the entrance to the Rijksmuseum garden. It forms part of the museum’s extensive collection of architectural fragments.
The Herepoort from 1621, when it was still part of Groningen's fortifications. © Wikipedia
When Groningen’s city defences – including the Herepoort – were demolished in 1878 to make a tree-lined boulevard, local builders were keen to buy up the rubble. But the Dutch government decided to save the Herepoort.
The architect Pierre Cuypers, who designed the Rijksmuseum, rebuilt the gate in 1885 at the entrance to the museum garden.
The Herepoort at the entrance to the Rijksmuseum garden © Wikipedia
But amateur historian Ger Bos would now like to see the gate returned. ‘The gate was made for Groningen, and not for the Rijksmuseum,’ he told the press.
His campaign is not likely to succeed, argues art historian Sabry Amroussi, who points out that the museum garden has fragments from all over the Netherlands, including a city gate from Gorinchem, an arcade from a church in Edam and a tower from Franeker. ‘The whole of the Netherlands is represented in this garden of fragments,’ he says.
Detail of the Herepoort's frieze © Wikipedia