Artwork Data


Reliëfs politiebureau


Jan Kuiper, Ootje Oxenaar



Partial collection

Gemeentelijk monument

Artwork Location


Alexanderveld 125/126, Den Haag

City district


GPS data

52.0892815, 4.3008457 View on map

Artwork Description


For a moment, it seems as if Egyptians have been at work in the entrance to the police station on the Alexanderveld. On the inside of the monumental, concrete canopy, a series of deep reliefs have been applied. The coloured drawings are strongly reminiscent of hieroglyphics, the writing of ancient Egypt. Some characters seem completely abstract, while in others figures are clearly visible. Designers Jan Kuiper and Ootje Oxenaar are the designers of the images.

During the reconstruction in 1959, a new police station was built on Alexanderveld, designed by architect W.S. van de Erve (1914-1994). Just as the function of the police force is reflected in the austere building, the same applies to the reliefs applied as decoration around the entrance. The representations relate to the maintenance of authority and the protection of citizens, as was customary in various periods since the Egyptians. The work of art breathes the atmosphere of the fifties. Essential are abstraction, stylisation and an interest in contemporary and old folk art, which flourished in those years under the influence of the Cobra movement.

It is difficult to say who was responsible for which part of the design. The Hague designer, artist and typographer Kuiper is known to have had a great admiration for Eastern European folk art. However, the relief is not easily reconciled with his work from the 1960s onwards, in which he sketched dream worlds filled with bizarre combinations of objects and figures.

Oxenaar is known not only as an influential director of the Aesthetic Design Department of the PTT (Dutch Post Office), but also as the designer of countless postage stamps and banknotes. Characteristic were the fresh colours and his daring design choices. For example, the snipe, lighthouse and sunflower on a banknote instead of a portrait. The reliefs for the police station are probably early work for both designers.