The story that tells the truth is story number 1. This VU heritage object is a sander from the Senate Hall.
1. Sander from the Senate Hall
These glazed holders were once part of an inkstand kept in the former Senate Hall. The holders held sand and were also known as sanders.
Until 1960, and the rise in popularity of the typewriter, it was normal to write with a dip pen that was dipped in an inkpot. The tip of a new dip pen was always first held in the mouth for a few minutes to remove any grease and help the ink adhere better to the pen. After writing, the pen was cleaned with a penwiper. As the ink used for writing could easily smudge, fine sand was sprinkled over the paper to absorb the ink. Hence the Dutch expression ‘zand erover’, which translates roughly as ‘throw sand over it’. These sanders were donated to the VU Heritage Collection by Peter Brasik, former secretary of the Executive Board.
2. Pharmacy cups from the Valerius Clinic
The first pile for the construction of VU Amsterdam's teaching hospital was driven on 29 September 1956. The official opening followed 10 years later on 12 October 1966. The construction of a teaching hospital for VU Amsterdam was, in part, made possible by the savings campaign of Sibbeltje Verdam-Okma with the famous green VU vans.
But the medical faculty can trace its origins back to 1907, when it was also decided to found a psychiatric neurological clinic in collaboration with the Christian association for care of the mentally ill and neurotic, which was headed by clergyman Lucas Lindeboom. This clinic opened on Valeriusplein as the Valerius Clinic in 1910. A physiological laboratory, located next to the Valerius Clinic, opened in 1918.
The laboratory had its own pharmacy where medicines were developed. This set of two porcelain cups were used to produce medicines and ointments. The cups originally came with sieves, but these have unfortunately been lost.
3. Porcelain candle holders by Kuyper
Giving a speech titled ‘Souvereiniteit in eigen kring’ (Sovereignty within our own community), Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) opened the Reformed Free University (VU Amsterdam) in 1880. The establishment of VU Amsterdam was the realisation of Kuypers' dream of Christian-based education, free of government interference. He became a professor of Systematic Theology and Dogmatics and was the first Rector Magnificus of the University. Kuyper also taught Dutch literature at the Faculty of Humanities. Kuyper was also an important politician (ARP), established his own church, founded a newspaper (De Standaard) and was an influential figure within the Reformed community and beyond.
It should come as no surprise that VU Amsterdam cherishes objects once used by Kuyper. The Academic Heritage collection contains a number of such objects. These porcelain candle-holders once stood in Kuyper's study at VU Amsterdam. They were donated by Jannetje Vos, a granddaughter of Kuyper.