Artwork Data


Monument Van Karnebeekbron


Willem Brouwer






920 cm

Partial collection

Gemeentelijk monument

Artwork Location


Carnegielaan, Den Haag

City district


GPS data

52.08823256891, 4.2954502991285 View on map

Artwork Description


The Netherlands has no great tradition of fountains. Perhaps this can be explained by the fact that our low country has few natural springs. The reason sometimes given is that fountains are 'too grandiose things'. For the use of running water in a monument, a fountain would be a 'more modest alternative'.
The Peace Palace has such a fountain: the Van Karnebeek Fountain, placed there in 1915 as a tribute to the Carnegie Foundation. The monument bears the name of Abraham van Karnebeek (1836-1925). This jurist and specialist in international law was vice-president of the First Hague Peace Conference in 1899. In addition, as chairman of the Carnegie Foundation, he had devoted himself to the installation of a permanent Court of Arbitration. In 1913, the time had come: Van Karnebeek opened the Peace Palace.
The commission for the Van Karnebeek monument had gone to artist Willem Brouwer. He had made a name for himself with his terracotta construction and decorative elements for the inner court of the Peace Palace (1909-1911). This ceramist pur sang mainly produced vases and bowls, but after 1905 he concentrated on the development of more monumental ceramics: terracotta garden ornaments and building earthenware. Many an architect applied Brouwer's new product in the first twenty years of the 20th century.
The Van Karnebeek spring is also constructed from terracotta building components. In its design, we see an affinity with Art Nouveau. Especially in the golden letters of the inscription, we recognise the graceful lines of this art movement from around 1900. For the rest, the fountain is modestly decorated and has a subdued shape and colour scheme. Brouwer used a special type of sandy, white-yellow clay for the stones. When fired, the resemblance to sandstone is deceptive. Brouwer undoubtedly imitated sandstone for its soft colour and texture, but at the same time developed a little erosion-sensitive, hard building element that is very suitable for outdoor applications.