NEPK-medal nr. 2500. The medallist Jac. J. van Goor

(Marinus Fleur, 1939, Jac. J. van Goor, bronze, cast, 90 mm, NEPK2500)

This medal marks the 2500th object in the NEPK medal collection. While over 95% of the objects can clearly be labelled as medals, the collection also features plaquettes and presses papier, often with a round medal type central part. Equally, several dozens of other medal related objects such as lapel badges or small insignia on a ribbon can be found. If you select the search term “Insignia” in the pull down menu “Type”, the search results immediately show their relation with medals.

Inventory number NEPK2500 is a cast portrait medal. It shows the sculptor and medallist Jacob(us) Jan van Goor (1874-1956). Little or nothing is known of Jacobs early years, apart from the fact that a physical defect made his movements difficult. At the age of 15 he started an apprenticeship at the silver and medal workshops of Begeer in Utrecht. His main activities concerned modelling, embossing and engraving, which he could largely execute in a sitting position. Its director Anthonie Begeer realised the young apprentice’s giftedness and allowed him further study at the company’s expense. Van Goor could thus stay several years at the Royal Art Academy in Hanau am Main, Germany, to further improve his modelling and silver work.

After completion of his studies Van Goor returned to Begeer, where for many decades he would continue to design and model several hundreds of medals. At the time this meant mostly medals that were struck using dies, sometimes in very large numbers. Only four of the 144 of the medals designed by Van Goor in the NEPK collection have been realised by the casting technique.

Van Goor was certainly all-round in all techniques graphic and he clearly was a gifted portraitist, as his many portrait medals in the collection show. His Abraham Kuyper medal is well known and so are his Dr. Karl Landsteiner medals and -plaquettes for the Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service, which have been awarded thousands of times. Van Goor’s portrait on the medal designed by his colleague Marinus Fleur is one of the very few portraits of this medal artist that we know of. After the period 1889-1939 that the medal commemorates Van Goor would work another ten years at Begeer, before retiring in 1949, aged 75.

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Montijn Insurers (Maatschappij Montijn) 75 years 1850-1925


(Unknown maker, 1925, enamelled bronze, 22 mm, NEPK2347)

This NEPK medal is no showcase of artistic beauty. It is of historical relevance, though, as it links to the history of the presently 170 years old Klaverblad Verzekeringen (Klaverblad Insurers), well known from its creative and confidence inspiring commercials on Dutch TV.

The details of the historic development from Maatschappij Montijn, a small, local and highly specialised insurer of cattle and harvests to the modern general insurer Klaverblad Verzekeringen are most likely of interest to only a small group of English language visitors of our website.

For those interested readers we refer directly to the source of our information, the commemorative publication that appeared in the year 2000:

Gedenkboek 150 jaar Klaverblad Verzekeringen 1850-2000. Auteurs: Eduard van Holst Pellekaan, Tijn Sadée. Drukkerij Anraad, Nieuwegein, december 2000.

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Doctorate of Gerrit van der Wal

(Unknown maker, 1940, cast, pewter, 53 mm, NEPK2402)

About a year ago NEPK acquired as a gift a somewhat worn looking, one-sided pewter medal. It obviously was not produced by one of the well-known medal producing firms. On the other hand, the powerful head with winged helmet (Mercury; symbol of trade and economics) could hardly have been modelled by a unschooled beginner. But what is the meaning of the cow’s head, the three portraits (coins?, medals?) and the letter “V.”, most likely the mark of the maker?

The medal was made to commemorate the doctorate ceremony at the University of Amsterdam of the economist Gerrit van der Wal. The title of his dissertation was “Rekeneenheid en Ruilmiddel” (Unit of counting and Means of exchange”) and the date was July 12, 1940, two months into the German occupation. At that time the universities still functioned normally and restrictions on the use of metals had not yet been imposed. Perhaps the medal was made later, after imposing of such restrictions? Or was its maker an artist-friend, who selected pewter for this very personal present, since pewter can be cast easily at lower temperatures?  Perhaps one day this will be clarified, just as the meaning of the bovine head, the three portraits and the signature “V.”.

Van der Wal worked in top positions at various large Dutch companies and organisations. He retired as president of KLM. For further details on his career, see the description of the medal in the database.

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Economic history in medals (NMNH)


(David van der Kellen, 1861, For 25 years employment, silver, 45 mm, NEPK2437)

NEPK is a thematic medal collection. The Foundation NEPK was created in 1961 as a medal collection of “in particular Dutch medals that have a relation with economic activities and developments”.  Its founder, dr W.L. Groeneveld Meijer, envisioned NEPK as a tangible illustration of the economic and organisational developments in the Netherlands. Clear examples of such medals are those of NMNH, the Netherlands Association for Industry and Trade. Members of NMNH could order commemorative medals engraved with name and dates for celebration of 25 of 40 years of employment. The classic obverse design is by David van der Kellen (1861) or by Johan Philip Menger, who in 1877 cut a new, though very similar, die. The medal shown here commemorates 25 years of employment of A.J. van Meel at Haagsche Courant. A search of the collection database with search term “NMNH” from the pull down menu “Group” results in all 34 medals of NMNH and its predecessors in the NEPK collection. They include medals of businesses (sometimes no longer existing) such as grocery chain P. de Gruyter, Albert Heyn, department store V&D, cleaning company CEMSTO, NKF Kabelfabriek, Werkspoor, N.V. Werf Gusto, and others. And yes, they are tangible illustrations of economic developments.

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Jan Daniel Sickler 50 years lead partner

(Marinus Fleur, 1940, Jan Daniel Sickler, bronze, 60 mm, NEPK2442)

The NEPK collection recently acquired the portrait medal of Jan Daniel Sickler (1865-1949), by Marinus Fleur (1878-1946). Fleur was a medallist at Royal Begeer (Koninklijke Begeer), which in the 20th century was the largest professional medal producer of the Netherlands. In artistic circles the work of Begeer’s medallists goes largely unnoticed, which in my view is often not justified. The medal shows that Fleur certainly was a more than capable portraitist, as were his colleagues Pol Dom and Jacob Jan van Goor.

The medal was commissioned as a tribute to Sickler when he had been the lead partner in the Amsterdam trade company Koopman & Co for 50 years. This trade company had been founded in 1795 by Sickler great-grandfather and had the nature of a typical family business. Sickler considered the close involvement of management with the work floor an important part of the company’s success. Ten years earlier he strengthened the bond with the company personnel further by founding the JD Sickler Pension Fund. The aim of the fund was stated as (citation): ‘to bring the personnel, including their widows and orphans, a cared-for future”.

Imagine this now, in the present times of takeovers, mergers, hedge funds and quick succession of managers with large distance to the work force !

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Covid-19 – Medal of Honour of Erasmus MC (NEPK1800)

(Bruno Ninaber van Eyben, 2008, gilded silver on black felt, 44×48 mm, NEPK1800)

One of the side effects of the present Covid-19 pandemic is that quite a few until now unknown names have recently become very familiar to all of us. The faces and voices of Ernst Kuipers, Diederik Gommers and Marion Koopmans and many other medical specialists fill our television screens almost every evening. All three specialists above mentioned are working at Erasmus MC, the combined hospital and Faculty of Medicine of Erasmus University Rotterdam. This hospital plays a key role in nationwide monitoring and planning of hospital beds and IC capacity during these Covid times. A good reason to draw your attention to Erasmus MC’s Medal of Honour. The design (2008) is by Bruno Ninaber van Eyben. The one-sided medal is fixed on a square block of black woollen felt. It slides into a black anodised aluminium casing, which fits in its own carton box. This attention to detail and presentation characterises all of Ninaber van Eybens designs. Uncommon for most artists, some of his designs have been produced in over 100 millions of copies. (Why? he designed the coins for circulation for Queen Beatrix 1980 – 2013).

Obverse image: Line portrait of Erasmus with cap in open circle on an open grid of 8 by 8 squares; signature and the letters MC

NB: The medal was donated to the NEPK collection by the Executive Board of Erasmus MC.

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Linda Verkaaik: Design for Centenary medal EUR 1913-2013 (NEPK2129)


Early 2013, five artists were invited to submit designs for a cast medal to commemorate the centenary of Erasmus University Rotterdam in November 2013. As her starting point for this contest, sculptor Linda Verkaaik took the theme of EUR’s development strategy (“At home in the world”). She writes: “My medal intends to visualise the outlines of this new world. At home on the university campus, rooted in Rotterdam, exploring the Netherlands, and further in Europe, and the world…”

The medal features an obverse consisting of thin oval shaped layers with in the top layer the map of EUR’s Woudestein campus and a student diving into the deep; the second layer a symbolic Rotterdam harbour basin, the third the outline of the Netherlands, next the map of Europe and finally, symbolically, the world as a whole.

As counterpart of the obverse the reverse shows inward ovals; from de deepest oval, where the university is symbolised by Erasmus’ signature, the student emerges full of energy, away from the university, ready for the world.


NB: Since 2016 on loan, acquired September 2020.

New: Brexit medal – Great Britain leaves the European Union

from June 11, 2020


(Brexit, by Jan Paul Kruimel (2019), porcelain, cast, 80 mm., inv. nr. NEPK2432).

In the British nation-wide referendum of June 23, 2016, the majority of those who participated voted to leave the European Union. The subsequent negotiations between Great Britain and the EU about an agreement on the mutual trade relations after the so-called Brexit have so far proceeded extremely slowly and unsatisfactorily, with still no agreement in sight. December 31, 2020 marks the deadline – otherwise there will be no special deal. In that case the economic, social and psychological damage is expected to be large, both for the UK citizens who – as they call it – will then “have their country back”, as for the EU citizens.

For Jan Paul Kruimel the above Brexit saga was an ideal topic for a medal. Several times before he has chosen to mark shocking public events by designing a satirical medal (e.g. the demise of Slavenburg’s Bank, also in the NEPK collection, inv. nr. NEPK0873).

Description obverse: Sketchy map of Europe, with Great Britain elevated above the level of the map


Description reverse: Great Britain all alone and surrounded by borders and defensive works – a sharp pointed ring, a heavy chain and a fortress wall


New presentation: Nobel prize laureate Jan Tinbergen and his medals

(From September 2, 2019)


(Nobel prize medal for Economics, by Gunvor Svensson-Lundqvist (1968), gold, struck, 67 mm., inv. nr. NEPK0076)

On December 10, 2019 it is exactly 50 years since professor Jan Tinbergen and the Norwegian professor Ragnar Frisch received the Nobel Prize for Economics. They were the first recipients of this newly introduced Nobel Prize, which was awarded for their pioneering contributions to the field of Econometrics. The two are internationally regarded as the founders of this new branch of science. From 1933 to 1974 Tinbergen was professor of Statistics, Higher Mathematics and Mathematical Economics at the Netherlands School of Commerce, later renamed Netherlands School of Economics, predecessor of Erasmus University Rotterdam. With this presentation of the many medals of honour that Tinbergen received during his career, the university honours one of its most prominent scientists.

Location: Erasmus Gallery, Erasmus Building, Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, Rotterdam

Times: Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

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Oldest medal in the NEPK collection (1531)


Erasmus himself has commissioned this medal, dated 1531. He presented the medal – just as the earlier large bronze medal made in 1519 – to friends or other persons important to him, e.g. persons who had done him an important service, as a token of gratitude and friendship. NEPK could acquire this medal for its collection thanks to the generous financial support by the Gebroeders Verschoor, the Barnabas Kossmann fund, and the Board of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Inv nr NEPK1850.

The portrait is based on that by Quinten Matsys (1519), see NEPK1335, as are the texts. Katz “Die Erzgebergische Prägemedaille des XVI. Jahrhunderts” and RBN-1920 attribute the medal to Hieronymous Magdeburger (died 1540). The present medal was realised using the screw press technique. Origin: Collection MA Snoeck, who was an important collector of coins and medals (Jhr Matthias Adriaan Snoeck * Hintham 25-4-1838 – + Hintham 2-4-1911) –> collection Beelaerts (Jhr Matthias Adriaan Beelaerts van Blokland *Pei-tai-ho (China) 3-8-1910 – + The Hague 14-10-1990).