Update Lorentz Monument
Update Lorentz Monument
Update Lorentz Monument
2008 - 2017
Sonsbeek X, 2008

Update Lorentz Monument 2008 - 2017

Hans van Houwelingen / Sonsbeek 2008


A permanent historical update of the National Monument in memory of Hendrik Antoon Lorentz


On a beautiful green slope in Sonsbeek Park in Arnhem the national monument for Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (1853 -1928), one of Holland’s greatest physicists and 1902 Nobel Prize winner for physics, has been standing for three-quarters of a century. The rear side of his statue also contains the names and portrayals of other important physicists who influenced him or else were influenced by him – Huygens, Fresnel, Maxwell, Planck, Einstein and Bohr.


It is striking that at that time Lorentz’s legacy on the monument was set in the context of other generations. Planck, Einstein and Bohr were still alive when it was erected in 1931. The lineage of physicists who influenced each other undoubtedly continues down to the present day. When I first saw the monument I pictured myself as standing at the source of a gigantic mental system that has developed worldwide in ever-increasing numbers of brain cells. The Netherlands Society for Physics (Nederlandse Natuurkundige Vereniging) put me in touch with Professor Frits Berends, a professor of physics who has based his career on the study of the physics of elementary particles with a special focus on the history of physics and the work of Hendrik Antoon Lorentz in particular. I asked him if it was possible to chart the development of physics by drawing up a list of names of physicists who have furthered the ideas and discoveries of Lorentz and his successors whose names are inscribed on his monument.