Van Koolwijk drawing archive gifted to library

Published on
March 22, 2011

Wageningen UR Library’s Special Collections has received a drawing archive as a gift from the Van Koolwijk Family. The archive belonged to the family’s father and mother, J.H.R. van Koolwijk (1916-1984) and M.L.E. van Koolwijk – Van Weydom Claterbos (1914-2002). During the Second World War, both were assistants to J.T. P.Bijhouwer, Professor of Landscape Architecture. In addition to being his assistants, the van Koolwijks received instruction from him in the history of garden and landscape architecture as well as drawing. Later, Jan Hendrik van Koolwijk would also work as a specialist teacher at different institutions, including the Agricultural College. In 1945, Jan Hendrik and Lous van Koolwijk opened their practice, first in Wageningen and later in Bergen op Zoom. He made the designs and the technical plans. She made the planting plans and the presentation drawings.

The archive contains drawings from more than 400 projects. Included in the projects are designs for parks, such as De Vrouwenhof Park in Breda and the Oud Hollandse Garden at the first Floriade in Rotterdam, as well as plans for country estates, such as the castle park of Middachten in De Steeg, and for several institutional and private gardens. The Van Koolwijks’ designs are characterized by a clear and functional lay-out and a large degree of spaciousness. They are a good example of Bijhouwer's influence on post-war garden architecture.

In 2009, Johanna G. Schüürmann wrote a research paper about the Van Koolwijks’ oeuvre entitled ‘Tuin & ruimte’ (Garden & Space). The collected information has been entered into the database TUiN (Garden) and is now accessible to everyone in the reading room of Special Collections.

(newsletter 2-2011)