Rutger Kopland

Glass Corridor (poem, 2005)
Koopmans and Cobbenhagen Building

Rutger Kopland – Glazen gang (gedicht, 2005)

In 1971, the current Koopmans Building was put into use after it became apparent that Cobbenhagen Building, until then the only building on campus, was becoming too small to accommodate the growing number of students and staff. To prevent people from having to go outside all the time to get from A to B (that is what the buildings were called back then), architect Bedaux came up with the glass corridor.

The meter-wide windows soon became a popular place for student organizations to hang their posters. Between the hundreds of announcements for parties, get-togethers, concerts, etc. hung what is probably the most neglected sign on campus. It said: Please do not hang posters here. Signed: R.H.A.M. Kraakman, secretary of the university.

In the early 21st century, that situation came to an end because then president of the Executive Board, Yvonne van Rooy, wanted views of that much-praised green campus. The posters moved to the Mensa. But what was not counted on: pigeons—chased by birds of prey—regularly flew themselves to smithereens against the windows.

After conferring with the Art Committee and professor Jaap Goedegebuure, poet (and scholar) Rutger Kopland (1934-2012) proved willing to create a custom poem in which the hallway itself and academic life are the subjects. Kopland was a Leonardo professor at the then letterenfaculteit in the 1999-2000 academic year. This chair was intended for people with a double talent; Kopland was both a poet and a scientist (Professor of Psychiatry in Groningen).

The letter design in the glass corridor is by Maarten Meevis (Kinkorn), the poem is in two languages, in the colors of the university. Since then, fewer pigeons have been killed, but still occasionally a carcass is found. Kopland saw his poem himself in 2006 and was very pleased with it.

In deze glazen gang lopen


In je hoofd flarden van een dagdroom

wat je had moeten zeggen


Ja je had moeten zeggen

Wat overblijft is de vraag waar

is de wereld


Zo’n mooie diepzinnige uitspraak


En je spiegelbeeld loopt doorzichtig

met je mee dwars door het park

de bomen het gras de merels


Door wat daar is buiten je hoofd

More about history and academic heritage

The Tilburg University academic heritage is a very diverse set of archives, visual materials, collections, devices, recorded stories, et cetera that relate to the history of the university.