All around the world, archives unite their voices on the 9th of June to show why it is important to support archives and the profession. An excellent opportunity to discover our profession. Het Utrechts Archief brings you a story on the theme 'Archives, Citizenship and Interculturalism', about one of the foreign artists in the collection that had a major influence on the city of Utrecht. 

Stranger in Utrecht

Jeannot Bürgi (1939-2011), a sculptor born in Switzerland, came to the Netherlands in the 1960s and had a major influence on the Utrecht cityscape. Bürgi was the designer and maker of 192 lantern consoles that you will find along the canals in the Utrecht city center. He lived an extraordinary life. "I've always been a buccaneer and I'll propably stay that way", he said. Bürgi, born in Zurich and adopted in an orphanage after six years, studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule Lucerne. In 1962 he traveled from Switzerland to the United States. On his way to Utrecht, he stayed there to fall in love with a woman and the art of sculpture. In the same year, Bürgi made his first "lantern console". Soon, the municipality of Utrecht asked him to work on a large project to make more of these consoles at the "Oudegracht" and "Nieuwegracht", giving them a more public character. Bürgi was chosen to design a large part of the consoles that you still find at these canals. In the collection of Het Utrechts Archief you will find beautiful preliminary studies and pictures of these consoles.


Console "Groot Blankenburgh"

Two men fighting in front of their houses. The console is located at the level of the Oudegracht 121 building. 


See more pictures of Bürgi's work

Bürgi preferably chopped directly into the stone based on his design sketches. His first works are figurative with round shapes. Later, his style evolved into a style with abstract and sharp shapes. 

City sculptor

Bürgi grew into a well-known person, a successful sculptor with students and a large profit. He soon acquired the unofficial title of "city sculptor". But his success began to appal him. In an article in the Nieuwe Leidsche Courant in 1976, he explains how all his material property and fortune became to bother him. Eventually, he chose to start a new life outside Utrecht without any money. He left an enormous legacy in the inner city of Utrecht.

Jeannot Bürgi at work

Jeannot Bürgi while working at the lantern console "Drakenburgh"

About International Archives Day

This story was created for International Archives Day 2017 with the theme 'Archives, Citizenship and Interculturalism'. It is essential to remember that records and archives are documents, created, received and maintained as evidence and information by an organization or person, in pursuance of legal obligations, or in the transaction of business. Archival records are those documents that are preserved by their creators, successors or an appropriate archive institution because of their legal value or enduring historical significance. Archives constitute a major cultural heritage and information resource.