Van Reekum Galerij

CODA Museum owes its existence in large measure to the former Van Reekum Galerij, which was opened by 5-year-old Richard van Reekum on 12 March 1965 under the watchful eye of mayor A.L. des Tombe. This exhibition space for visual art was housed in a new cultural centre at the  Soerenseweg that also encompassed the Orpheus theatre. The centre was co-founded by the local Van Reekum family.

The Van Reekum family owned ReMeHa, a company specialised in the production of heating boilers and pipes. In the years after the war, when central heating became the norm, production soared. In the early 1960s, this wealthy and art-loving family created a fund that allowed the council of Apeldoorn to build and manage a museum for visual art. From its opening in 1965, the Van Reekum Galerij staged a great variety of exhibitions: from glass from Leerdam and Polish graphics to fashion photography and the work of local artists. 

The Van Reekum Museum

In 1976, the council decided to lift the Van Reekum Galerij to a higher level. A yearly budget was allotted and the new director, Jerven Ober, started building a collection with great enthusiasm. He managed the Van Reekum Galerij with great drive, and in 1980 the gallery received the predicate of ‘museum’.

The collection of the Van Reekum Museum reflected director Jerven Ober’s imaginative outlook and knowledge. In addition to drawings and graphics, he also acquired jewellery art and modern photography. Several exhibitions showed interesting connections between various disciplines within modern art. With its original exhibitions, the ‘Van Reekum’ regularly attracted the attention of the national media. After Ober resigned in 1985, Frits Bless became director of the Van Reekum. No less imaginative than his predecessor, he expanded the collection with abstract and conceptual art, and art made in developing countries.

Van Reekum Galerij

Van Reekum Galerij

The Van Reekum Galerij in CODA

Around 2000, it became clear that the location on Soerenseweg no longer sufficed and was not in line with the museum’s ambitions. Because the Historisch Museum Apeldoorn and the municipal archive had similar problems, the council decided to construct a new building. The two museums and the archive gained independence and were merged. During the development of the construction plans, the public library also decided to join the museums and archive at the new location. 

In order to preserve the memory of The Van Reekum Museum’s history and to honour the family, part of CODA’s exhibition space is named after the Van Reekum family. In this space, work from CODA’s own collection is exhibited. With its ‘Van Reekumplein’ sign, the square between CODA and Gigant also refers to CODA Museum’s origins and history.

For more information, visit the website of the Van Reekum Stichting.

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