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The Maigret Statue
at Delfzijl

more at Joe Richards's Maigret in Delfzijl

Paris Match June 25, 1966, p.1


Sculptor Pierre de Hont, of Utrecht, finishing the model.
SIMENON DÉVOILERA
LA STATUE DU
COMMISSAIRE MAIGRET

Personnage imaginaire, plus célèbre que Georges Simenon qui l'a créé, le commissaire Maigret aura bientôt sa statue. Elle s'élèvera sur la place de Delfzijl, petite ville du nord des Pays-Bas, où Simenon plaça l'intrigue de son premier roman, en 1929. Le sculpteur Pierre d'Hont, d'Utrecht, en achève l'ébauche. Le 3 septembre, jour de l'inauguration, tous les Maigret de l'écran seront là. Pour la France : Michel Simon et Jean Gabin.

SIMENON TO UNVEIL
THE STATUE OF
COMMISSIONER MAIGRET

Imaginary character more famous than Georges Simenon who created him, Commissioner Maigret will soon have his own statue. It will be erected in Delfzijl, the small city in the north of the Netherlands, where Simenon set his first novel, in 1929. On September 3, the day of the inauguration, all the screen Maigrets will be there. For France: Michel Simon and Jean Gabin.

Pieter D'Hont [1917-1997]

It is a bronze hardly four feet tall, set on a stone pedestal in the middle of a shady lawn. Beneath the foliage of fifty-year-old ash trees, a few steps from a canal, we find Maigret, solid, slightly grumpy, with his hat and pipe, and a heavy coat over his shoulders. His statue has stood here since September 3, 1966, at the corner of Ruksweg and Jaagpad streets, in a strange incognito of greenery...

Does anyone still come to see the famous commissioner in Delfzijl, this port in the extreme north of Holland? This work of sculptor Pieter d'Hont is spared from pigeon droppings, but not from spider webs. The curious are rare, and no postcard representations of Maigret can be found in the shops. Yet this most famous policeman of French literature is supposed to have sprung from the fertile imagination of Georges Simenon in this maritime city of 18,000 souls...

 

Baudouin Bollaert,
LE FIGARO, Thursday, July 26, 2001
"The Summer Series" (p 28)


photo, Joe Richards    

Georges Simenon posant à coté de la statue de Maigret qu'il inaugura lui-même le 3-9-1966, Damsterdiep, Tuikwerderrak, Delfzijl.

 
Georges Simenon posing next to [a model of] the statue of Maigret that he will innaugurate himself on September 3, 1966, at Damsterdiep, Tuikwerderrak, Delfzijl.

 

photo A.W. Bruna & Zoon, Utrecht.

 
 

Matthieu Rutten
Simenon; ses origines, sa vie, son oeuvre
illustration 113

Le regard croisé entre Simenon et son personnage lors de l'inauguration de la statue de Maigret à Delfzijl, le 3 septembre, 1966

 
Maigret and his character study each other at the inauguration of the statue of Maigret at Delfzijl, September 3, 1966.

 

photo: Maria Austria

 
Fonds Simenon

An emotional Simenon blowing his nose after unveiling the statue of Maigret, September 3, 1966, Delfzijl. The bronze sculpture is by Pieter d'Hont (born Hilversum, April 24, 1917).

 

photo: Maria Austria

 
Fonds Simenon

Jan Sander of The Hague writes (9/11/99) that probably in the early seventies a 10-inch replica was made of the famous Maigret statue in Delfzijl in the Netherlands, issued along with a series of leather-bound Maigret books.

 

photo: Maria Austria

 
Fonds Simenon

Photo of various Maigrets

Unveiling the statue of Maigret at Delfzijl, September, 1966.
Georges Simenon (2nd from left) with four television Maigrets:
Rupert Davies (GB), Heinz Ruhmann (Germany),
Gino Cervi (Italy), Jan Teuling (Holland).

 

photos: Maria Austria

Photo of various Maigrets


Domenica del Corriere, April 24, 1966, N° 17


Georges Simenon with sculptor Peter d'Hondt, at a preview of d'Hondt's show at the L. Eskens Gallery, Paris, including a model of the Maigret statue at Delfzijl. (March 15, 1967, AP photo)

 

Comments in the Forum

about Delfzijl and/or the Statue

A Crime in Holland
8/7/98 - I have just returned from a holiday in Holland and went to Delfzijl, but it is now much too modernised and extended to bear much resemblance to the little port in A Crime in Holland. Whilst in Holland I saw an episode of the French Maigret series (with Dutch subtitles!). It was actually based on the Delfzijl story, but the entire location had been moved to Finland, presumably because of Finnish finance for the episode. Despite this the production values and the Maigret of the French actor were excellent.

David McBrien

Delfzijl booklet
8/30/98 - When David McBrien was in Delfzijl, did he get hold of a copy of the 15-page illustrated booklet (in Dutch, of course!) about Simenon and the town published by the local tourist board? It identifies the locations from Maigret in Holland that still exist. It was published in 1990 when, apparently, the girl on whom Beetje Liewens was based was still living in the town. Her father's farm, demolished in 1959, stood where the Maigret statue now stands.

Richard Thomas

Delfzijl booklet
9/4/98 - Richard Thomas asks if I obtained the Simenon booklet from the tourist office in Delfzijl. I did visit the VVV office, which is located in the railway station, but I found it very difficult to obtain information about the location of the Maigret statue, which the VVV lady seemed very suprised that I wanted to see, and nothing was said about the booklet. I eventually found the statue, and the principal location of the story, alongside the Damsterdiep canal (which Simenon calls the Amsterdiep in the book). Although there is one large timber-yard in the town on the opposite side of the canal, the canal seems no longer to be used for floating logs and it is difficult to imagine being able to cross the canal by walking across the logs as Cornelius and Maigret did.

David McBrien
Brunel University, UK

Delfzijl booklet
9/14/98 - I sympathise with David McBrien and his experience at the Delfzijl VVV. For a tourist organisation they don't seem to be on the ball when it comes to publicising the town's links with a world-renowned writer. The lady on duty when I visited (several years ago) had no real idea where the Maigret statue was, and made no effort to point out the Simenon booklet that I happened to notice on the shelves before I left.
Incidentally, the booklet states that the idea of Maigret and Cornelius crossing the canal by walking on floating logs is "pure fantasy". There certainly were logs at the side of the canal in Simenon's day, but "a wide channel had to be maintained as at the time the Damsterdiep was still a shipping canal".

Richard Thomas

Delfzijl booklet
5/12/99 - A look on the map of the Netherlands will tell you that Delfzijl is located on the extreme North-East of that country, in the province of Groningen. The natives there are supposed to be silent, sober, unemotional, suspicious of non-locals and not at all interested in strangers, no matter how famous they may be in their country of origin or the world at large. The experiences of Richard Thomas and David McBrien are therefore not very surprising. I think that Simenon used this location precisely because of the "Northern" characteristics of the people who lived there. The relocation, for a TV-version, of the story of "A Crime in Holland" to Finland is, in the eyes of a Dutchman, not so strange as it may seem. Even the relocation of the entire province of Groningen to Finland would be regarded as not unfitting.

Peter van der Salm
(Netherlands)

Delfzijl Booklet
5/20/99 - Not only are the natives of Delfzijl silent, sober, unemotional etc (Peter van der Salm, 12.5.99), they are also scrupulously honest. When I parked my car near the centre of town and walked off in search of the Maigret statue I accidentally left my wallet in full view on the vehicle's roof. I discovered it was missing only when ordering a beer in a cafe about ten minutes later. After sprinting madly back to the car - and thinking about the calls I would shortly be making to cancel credit cards etc - I found the wallet exactly where I had left it. Thank you, Delfzijl. I look forward with pleasure to visiting you again, especially as I now know where you have hidden the statue.

Richard Thomas

Maigret statue replica
9/11/99 - It must have been in the early seventies that a 10-inch replica was made of the famous Maigret statue in Delfzijl in the Netherlands. As a long-time collector of Maigret books, I am still looking for this small statue. It was issued with a series of Maigret books bound in leather. Does anyone have one for sale?

Jan Sander
The Hague

Maigret statue replica
11/29/99 - I have a statue, but not the books. Haven't thought of selling, but I've got to ask... how much is it worth?

Kevin Forrester

Birthplace of Maigret
8/19/00 - The Maigret Forum seems to worry about the birthplace of Maigret. In the Dutch issue of "Maigret in Holland" I found a preface by the mayor of Delfzijl, Mr. P. Scholten, in which he tells us that Simenon was staying in Delfzijl some time in 1929. Delfzijl was the place where Simenon created the character of Maigret. Therefore Delfzijl should be considered as the place of birth (so to speak) of Maigret. Scholten even went as far as to sign a fake birth certificate (dated September 3rd, 1966), as a correction of the mistake of failing to register the newly-born Maigret on February 23rd, 1929. Simenon is mentioned as the father, the mother is 'unknown'. Here is a copy of the certificate from the book (click to view). What more proof does one need ;-)?

Regards,
Kees Molders
The Netherlands

Maigret mini-statue?
4/27/03 - Does anyone have any information/value on a mini-statue of Maigret, about 10 inches high, brass or bronze?

Lesley Kellough

more at Joe Richards's Maigret in Delfzijl

 

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