The new tile panel of Maria Louise

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Six years ago I attended the unveiling of a wall painting for Maria Louise on the wall around the corner of the Princessehof in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. On 20 June 2015 it was one of her descendants, King Willem-Alexander, who personally came to Leeuwarden. The painting was created on the occasion of the Year of Maria Louise, 250 years after her death in 1765. Maria Louise Princess of Orange and of Nassau, born a Princess of Hessen-Kassel, was the last and most known of the female regents of Friesland.

The painting was not meant to be something permanent and soon started to peel off. However the painting turned out to be a real eye-catcher and every day hundreds of people stopped by to take pictures or have a look at the genealogy. Foreign visitors were surprised to see their king or queen on a wall in Leeuwarden and loved to take selfies. So it was decided to replace the painting by a more permanent tile panel, that is of a much higher quality and is to be a durable successor to the mural on the very same spot: the façade of Brasserie Maria Louise next to the Princessehof Museum.

The ceramic tile tableau was designed by Michaël Snitker and created from 2,160 tiles made by Royal Tichelaar Makkum. The main part of the tiles are, very appropriate, red/orange. The two central portraits of Maria Louise and her husband Johan Willem Friso, Prince of Orange, on the tile panel were reproduced courtesy of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Beneath these portraits one can find her relations to the contemporary royal houses in Europe, as many of today’s kings and queens descend from the couple, including King Willem-Alexander.

The tile panel is made possible with the support of the Municipality of Leeuwarden, FB Oranjewoud, Prince Bernhard Cultuurfonds Fryslân, Keramiekmuseum Princessehof, Nassau en Friesland Foundation, Ottema-Kingma Foundation, Van Achterbergh-Domhof Foundation, Boelstra Olivier Foundation, Herbert Duintjer Fund, Boersma Adema Foundation.

The unveiling

In the afternoon of Saturday 16 October 2021 the tile tableau was unveiled by the King’s commissioner in the Province of Friesland, Mr Arno Brok. On the same day coincidentally also Pink Saturday was celebrated in Leeuwarden. It was only a short program that included a welcome by the president of the Nassau and Friesland Foundation Bearn Bilker. After Kris Callens, the director of the Keramiekmuseum Princessehof (ceramic museum) had told something about the tile panel, it was Arno Brok who held the very funny main speech (see video below), with even a reference to Pink Saturday. Unfortunately there was nothing to be unveiled, as the tile tableau was already visible for everyone.

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