Museum Rotterdam

Lions on the Coolsingel

How would you display 15.000 kilograms of rubble in a museum? And make it attractive for visitors? This were two of the many challenges we faced during the design & build project ‘Lions on the Coolsingel’ in Museum Rotterdam’.

Mythical stories of the Second World War which took place in Rotterdam are coming to life in this temporary exhibition, surrounded by the debris and charred remains of the old city. Such as wild animals – escaped from Diergaarde Blijdorp – that would have wandered through the city after the bombs…

Historical photos, videos, objects and grand murals provide an impressive image of an unimaginable time of war. Luckily, the white flag – which was flown during the capitulation negotiations – and the capitulation document are part of the exhibition as well.

This project was  the opportunity for Heijmerink Wagemakers to apply our knowledge and expertise on the engineering and production of custom-made steel mounting elements for the grotesque rubble objects. For example, the ‘Stedenmaagd of Rotterdam’ was given a metal pedestal and various heavy facade elements were attached to walls with steel support. Another challenge we faced in engineering was the composition of 17 displayed islands, cloches and built-in video screens.

Director Paul van der Laar is glad his museum is open again, displaying this intriguing exhibition, even though the opening was after the commemoration days in May and two months later than the originally planned date due to COVID-19 measures.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Lotte Stekelenburg