Nobody wants to have Lely collection

A collection of documents, photos and mementos about engineer Cornelis Lely lies untouched in Ed Voigt’s attic. The collector (75) from Lelystad is incensed that he has not been able to exhibit his life’s work for three years. Museum Batavialand in Lelystad says it has no need for the collection.

Two years ago, the entire city council of Lelystad passed a motion to keep Voigt’s collection for the city. But little has been done since then, Voigt said angrily at a council meeting last night.

According to the Lelystad resident, he has about 140 panels that describe the life course of Cornelis Lely. This also includes donations from the descendants of the founder of the Zuiderzee Works. The Collector: “From the cradle to the grave, from 1854 to 1929. I own 98 percent of all known Lely documents.” It concerns originals and copies.

Museum Batavialand in the city is not interested in the extensive collection of historical documents and objects of Cornelis Lely, Omroep Flevoland reports. Voigt confirms that there has been a conversation between him and the museum management. According to the collector, that yielded nothing.

“I never said that we don’t want Voigt’s material,” says director/director Jan Vriezen of Museum Batavialand. There is, he says, mainly something between Voigt and his predecessor.

Enkhuizen says ‘no’

The Lely collector is considering offering his items to the Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen. But the management there does not need them, says a spokeswoman. “As impressive as this collection is, a museum’s job is to collect original objects.”

The museum in Enkhuizen believes that the Voigt collection has mainly ‘documentary value’ and no museum value. “Given the very limited storage space available to the Zuiderzee Museum, expansion with documentary objects is not desirable. Unfortunately, the museum cannot accommodate this collection.”

Municipality of Lelystad is surprised

Voigt’s attitude is surprising to the municipality of Lelystad, says a spokeswoman. “Mr. Voigt informed us last year that he does not want to lend his collection for the time being. We were surprised that he left a comment last night,” she says.

The Lelystad resident contradicts this: “I told them that part of my collection was not available last year because there were commemorations and exhibitions.”

Voigt regularly exhibits the collection in various places in the country, but believes that the collection belongs in Lelystad. In addition, he hopes that if the collection is given a permanent place in the city, local youth will also be able to learn about history. And there’s another reason: “I’m getting older too. You’re working towards an exhibition and that takes a lot of energy. I just want to get it right.”

Voigt doesn’t get much further at Museum Batavialand. Director/administrator Vriezen says that the collection must first be examined for museum value. “That should be done by a third party,” he says. “I also think it is especially important that the collection is publicly accessible.”

Cornelis Lely’s grandson views the situation with suspicion. “Voigt has been promised an exhibition space in Lelystad, and I understand those agreements have not been met,” says Jan Lely.

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