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Westermann Collection July 10 – August 30, 2021

Enter the Olympic Games Haarlem

The plan arose as early as 2018 to create Museum Haarlem to hold an exhibition of a selection from the Olympic collection of Maarten Westermann (68). This consists of hundreds of objects and covers an era from 1908 to the present. The journalist and writer started collecting in the early XNUMXs, when he lived in... Elseviers Weekly reported on Amsterdam's candidacy for hosting the 1992 Olympic Games.

Thanks to a large network, Westermann has collected all kinds of artistic, disgusting or hilarious items for more than thirty-five years, covering an era from 1908 to the present. Dutch sports heroes such as Anton Geesink, Sjoukje Dijkstra, Fanny Blankers-Koen, Yvonne van Gennip and Pieter van den Hoogenband are featured. In addition, the exhibition is a cultural world tour through North and South America, China, Korea, Russia, Australia and most European countries. We do not find any medals or torches in the Westermann Collection. Too expensive! For that you have to go to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne (Switzerland). Or in countries such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. This display here is 'Olympic junk'. Not everything that lies, stands and hangs here is beautiful, expensive or artistic. That does not matter. The value lies mainly in the diversity of the countries and cultures from which the objects come. Beer steins from Bavaria, chopsticks from China, matryoshka from Russia, Barbie from America, flip-flops from Rio de Janeiro, Korean kitsch, Scandinavian porcelain, a clothes hanger from Berlin, orange clogs from the Netherlands... It's an Olympic journey around the world.

Olympic find in Museum Haarlem
At an early stage in the preparation of the exhibition, Maarten Westermann received a request from museum director Laura van der Wijden to conduct research into the small collection of sports-related objects. The depot contained some old prize cups, attributes and other items, without demonstrable historical value. However, Westermann also found a cigar box there, with the text 'Scheffer' written on it in felt-tip pen.

 Guus Scheffer (1898-1952) was one Haarlema sportsman, who especially excelled in wrestling and weightlifting. In the latter sport he participated in the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris and the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. The latter participation earned him third place. That bronze medal (although it was not yet called that) was in that box, along with commemorative medals from Paris and Amsterdam, plus other badges and mementos related to his efforts as an Olympic athlete. Maarten Westermann breaks it all down and although Scheffer is indeed mentioned in the Olympic annals, he came to the conclusion that this is a forgotten sportsman. For example, he was the first and only Dutch weightlifter with an Olympic medal. In Westermann's opinion, this last merit is more than sufficient to add a photo of Scheffer to the hall of fame of Haarlemse champions on the facade of the Kennemer Sportcenter. Guus Scheffer's bronze medal will be exhibited during the small Gasthuis exhibition of the Westermann Collection in Museum Haarlem.

From today, local resident Maarten Westermann is exhibiting his most beautiful and funniest Olympic collectibles in the Museum Haarlem.
Watch the video on NH news.