© Albert-Jan Rasker
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Did you see it? How King Willem-Alexander was as happy as a kid when he finally managed to get the coin into the right spot. With two thumbs up and a grin from ear to ear, the king almost made a jump for joy. It was a bit of a puzzle to get the stainless steel coin with 12 pins into the right holes in the right way. The king briefly threatened to give up. Nonetheless, Willem-Alexander was not distracted by the 1500 guests who eagerly watched how he doggedly persevered. He squatted down to study the pins and kept turning the coin around until it clicked into the path. Done!

King Willem-Alexander officiating the opening ceremony of Brainport Industries

That’s how the Brainport Industries Campus was officially opened last week, something very different from cutting a ribbon. Willem-Alexander finished a work of art created by Juul Rameau when he slotted this last coin into the right spot. Rameau really made the the king work for it. What was it like for her to make the king work up a sweat?

“Few people can say that they have figured out a puzzle with the king. And even fewer people have brought him to his knees,” Rameau looks back on it all with a smile on her face. But the designer was feeling slightly under pressure. After all, what if the last piece didn’t fit? The joy was all the greater when the king completed the work of art. “The piece would fit in only one way, quite difficult if there are fifteen hundred people watching over you. When it succeeded, the mood was almost euphoric and the audience was on the verge of cheering. The sense of relief and applause afterwards was enormous. It felt very special to see the king finish the last part of my work.”

Facilitating Fruitful Growth

The artwork is made up of a sculpture of a seed husk and a pattern of 2300 coins spread along the path towards the campus. “Lately, a wonderful ecosystem has developed on the campus which is continuing to develop. The coins are like seeds and depict that development and growth. They stand for everyone who has helped shape the campus. They are seeds that need to germinate and keep growing, just like the ecosystem around the campus,” Rameau explains. The shape resembles a growing tree when you look at the pattern of the marker points from above. Rameau: “But it also represents the synapses in your brain. The way you make new connections. That fits this place perfectly. The campus is a place of interaction and new ideas. This artwork symbolizes that creativity.”

Rameau tells us that her work of art also has a third layer: “When you walk over the coins or seeds, you feel it. Walking over this relief will help you get out of your headspace. You feel grounded again. It brings you into direct contact with your surroundings and helps you to clear your mind. That’s an important aspect for me.”

Campus director Erik Veurink is as proud as a peacock after the opening. “It does say something that the king has taken the time to come here specifically for the opening. That’s really nice.” Veurink didn’t doubt the king for a moment when he saw Willem-Alexander struggling to put the last coin in place. “He solved it in a sportsmanlike way and dealt with it very spontaneously.” There is another photo that summarizes the day very well for the campus director:


Opening Brainport Industries Campus – Handshakes between Ferdinand Gremmen (SDK Vastgoed) and Mayor John Jorritsma when King Willem-Alexander was about to leave the campus. Photo: Bram Saeys / BIC/SDKVastgoed

“Here you see the most important man in the Netherlands, together with the most important man in Eindhoven, as well as Ferdinand Gremmen, who made the campus possible. In the background you can see everyone who was involved enjoying themselves. I thought that was a wonderful moment.

It’s just a matter of time before Dutch satirist Sander van de Pavert (from Lucky TV) does something with these images: