kolff: history: geography: de drie colven: 2

kolff family coat of arms

History: De Drie Colven (2): Article in De Gelderlander

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(Text: the article by Francine Wildenborg in De Gelderlander of September 22, 2010; transl. by Marius Kolff)

Wereld vol elegante verwonderingen (World full of elegant surpises)

From a dark room I can see the glittering of the Waal river. Nijmegen is alseep. The idea that no ona can see what you can see: that is what gives the Besiendershuis (see note) to her resident. After a quiet night in this monument of the middle ages, I rise early.

Drie Colven in Besiendershuis

While on Monday I could still see the bridge over the river Waal in detail, now the river is veiled in mist and I see no futher than the quay. The stepped gable of my temporary residence also has a layer of mist. A sweet little ghost house from outside. Inside it is a world in itself. Every passing hour I discover something new, a door handle in the shape of a leaf, a French lily in a window still. The artists that will stay here from October will continiously be surprised by this building. Only after having used the stair case twenty times or more from the ground floor to the void, I discover a beautiful coat of arms in the door connecting the two floors.

Nijmegen resident Piet-Hein Kolff pointed this out to me today. He is a descendant of a certain Wouter Kolff, a former resident of the Besiendershuis (see note), long ago also named Op d'n Colven (On the Colves). Piet-Hein: "Wouter Kolff lived here around 1600. He was a skipper and arrived at Nijmegen from Geertruidenberg. He settled himself in the Beziendershuis and lived here, for as far as I can find, for 88 years."

Francine Wildenborg at the window with the coat of arms. Photo's Do Visser/De Gelderlander.

Last year only, when an art gallery was housed here temporarily, Kolff visited the building for the first time. "The coat of arms, with the three colves, the wooden hammers, is also despicted on a seal ring which I have. Very special." The colourful coat of arms of the family contrasts shaprly with the mainly wooden interior downstairs in this monument, which makes it extra special.

Once seating again at my desk on the first floor I regained my view on the River Waal. On the quay people are enjoying the sun. It is not just outside that everything looks different, also inside it is much brighter. Coloured little windows now attrack attention, scores in the wood show themselves. From the small inner court the dark window shutters glimmer from the sunlight. I start to get used to my new refuge, even though the sail and the 'modern' doors are jam the total picture.

How special it may feel to be in here, all alone, what I discover the outside world should also be able to see. For this reason it is good that the Besiendershuis is open to the public on a regular basis for the coming months. For all that take some time to spend here will be rewarded.

Francine Wildenborg (De Gelderlander, 22 september 2010)

Note by the archivist of the Kolff Family Association (27/9/2010): The House with the Three Colves and the Besiendershuis are two different houses. The latter stands on the other side of the street. This has some logic to it, because from the old house of Wouter Kolff one could not overlook the river Waal. From the back side of the house on the Northern side of street one could. The window has been placed several years ago following an initiative of the Kolff Family Association.
Permission for publication of this article has been asked for at De Gelderlander, but we never got a reply. In case De Gelderlanderso wishes we will remove the article from our website. The link to De Gelderlander didn't work any longer, so that has been disconnected (Dec. 2013).
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