Margot Berkman | Portfolio Categories Public Area
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La Vue Berkman en Janssens for Rochdale IJburg Amsterdam 2009

Bouncing white monkeys and green leaves decorate the walls.


Housing association Rochdale commissioned Berkman and Janssens in 2009 to decorate their properties with works of art at both IJburg and Amsterdam Centrum.


The designs made by the artists were the source of inspiration for the art lessons for children from that neighbourhood. They  have made their own collages and learned about the symbolic meaning of the animals.



Amor en Fortuna Berkman en Janssens bicycle tunnel Vianen 2010

Measurements: 90 m x 3,5 m


Amor Fati – Love for the destiny


This fairytale like bicycle tunnel with still-lives of white elephants and monkeys and golden four-leaf clovers  adorns the public area of Vianen. Six large still lives of steel sculptures have been installed in the tunnel.



The source of inspiration of the artist duo Berkman en Janssens is derived the history of Vianen. In the Middle Ages Vianen was a Freecity. Many people in search for better opportunities and looking for happiness moved towards Vianen. When travelers walked into the city, they often had great stories about traveling through foreign countries with exotic habits and wondrous animals such as tigers and elephants. Some elephants carried tiny houses on their backs. The elephant became the symbol of travel and luck.


From the research preceding the final design is the following text: Amor Fati is a Latin expression meaning “love for the destiny”, the loving of the inevitable and is best known from the work of Friedrich Nietzsche .


In German:

Liebe das, was nothwendig ist” – amor fati dies wäre meine Moral, thue ihm alles Gute an und hebe es über seine schreckliche Herkunft hinauf zu dir.”


In Die fröhliche Wissenschaft: “Ich will immer mehr lernen, das Nothwendige an den Dingen als das Schöne sehen: – so werde ich Einer von Denen sein, welche die Dinge schön machen. Amor fati: das sei von nun an meine Liebe! Ich will keinen Krieg gegen das Hässliche führen. Ich will nicht anklagen, ich will nicht einmal die Ankläger anklagen. Wegsehen sei meine einzige Verneinung! Und, Alles in Allem und Grossen; ich will irgendwann einmal Nur noch ein Ja-Sagender sein.”


De Dame en de Zwaan Berkman en Janssens Gorinchem 2003

Measurements: 250 m x 6 m (including 650 m2 tiling)


Masterplan ‘Art in Tunnels’ commissioned by Project Organization Betuweroute, Prorail.


The artwork the ‘Lady with the Swan’ is inspired by the stories of the Knights of Brederode, rulers of Gorinchem. The enormously high viaduct, on the Grote Haarse Kade, is part of the ‘Art in Tunnels’ Master Plan for the Betuweroute Project Organization, in which Margot Berkman examined the crossings in urbanized areas.


In addition to the realization of 7 tunnels with art, artistduo Berkman and Janssens have given art lessons on how they make a design for a work of art for a specific location. Children and adults learned about the historical background of their living environment. The artwork consists of 650m2 of decorated tiles and concrete clinkers with black and white natural stone, 24 columns with decorative painting.


De Dames en de Muze Berkman en Janssens Bos en Lommer 2003

Measurements: 500 m2


A paradise beneath highway A10 in Amsterdam


The artwork ‘De Dames en de Muze’ by Berkman en Janssens connects two neighbourhoods in Amsterdam-West. In the pedestrian- and cyclist tunnel under highway A10, on the Leeuwendalersweg in Amsterdam, thousands of blue and golden sparrows surrounds fairytale bright green tile tableau. The paintings on the pillars of the tunnel were inspired by historical Amsterdam that also refers to Eastern cultures.


Berkman and Janssens gave art classes to children and women at various schools in the neighbourhood, about how they design and realize art for public area. Exhibitions of the results were organized at the Stadskantoor Amsterdam West and at the primary school at Leeuwendalersweg. De Bos en Lommerschool has received a large tile tableau from the artists.



Greetings from Delfshaven Berkman en Janssens 2001

Measurements: 600m2


Old architectural details from Rotterdam can be seen in the subway station.


Subway station Delfshaven was renovated in 2001 by the RET and fully decorated with artworks with delft-blue architectural motifs inspired by the historic buildings of Delfshaven in Rotterdam.


Artistduo Berkman and Janssens have given art classes at six schools in Delfshaven, about making designs for public area,  the art history of decoration on buildings. They have designed a special ceramic tile that has been given to local residents and schools.


Under the Magnolia Tree 2013

Measurements: 20 m x 6 m


The magnolia tree provides eternal spring
The source of inspiration for this poetic sculpture are the stories from the old care center Huize Transwijk in Utrecht, the Netherlands, which used to stand on the spot of the new residential building. The sculpture gives the idea of ​​recognition and memory, in the perspective of time. There used to be an old magnolia tree in the garden of Huize Transwijk. 


Magnolias symbolize eternal spring, where time passes without any noticeable changes. Two hunting dogs are faithfully waiting for it. The symbol of the magnolia tree also represents the ongoing transition from old to new. From young to old.


In Utrecht and surroundings Margot Berkman is known for large art commissions in the public space she made with artist-duo Berkman en Janssens. Cycling you recognize her clear handwriting in the tunnels of the Berekuil with thousands of tiles with bears, in the decorated walls of the tunnel at the Rietveld House and the Archimedeslaan, in the bench in Leidsche Rijn that formed the farewell gift for former mayor Annie Brouwer-Korf. In 2012 she was solo commissioned for  the monument to the throne, a king’s tree for King Willem Alexander, in the Máxima park.



The song of the Nightingales Berkman en Janssens 2005

Measurements: 625 m2


Do you hear the nightingales singing? 


The paddling pool in Park de Watertoren in the district of Zuilen in Utrecht has been prepared for the summer. The pumps are cleaned and the paint is inspected. The artwork ‘The Song of the Nightingales’, a floor painting, painted by artist duo Berkman and Janssens requires little maintenance. 





Hortus Conclusus Berkman en Janssens bicycle tunnels 2006

Nature transformed into fairy-tale landscape ‘Hortus Conclusus’  
The artwork ‘Hortus Conclusus’ of Berkman en Janssens consists of four groups of white sculptures that are positioned in a gently sloping landscape. Access to this enchanting world is prevented in a playful but also robust way by the placement of two monumental corten-steel fences, each 38 meters long and 1.70 meters high.


Animal figures can also be seen as decoration of the fence; the birds and the surrounding flowers from the Rottemeren area are cut from 20 millimeters thick steel. Through these cut out parts of the fence the visitor can see the white animals such as the unicorn, the lion, the dog and the lamb. You can find the ‘Hortus Conclusus’ by using the bicycle and pedestrian tunnel, which was built along the banks of the Rotte.


The tunnels (110 m x 3,5 m) announce the central area from afar. Thousands of small birds, such as the little bitterns, nightingales and golden orioles , in the warm colors orange and yellow, accompany the passerby to the central area where the story of ‘The Lady and the Unicorn’ is told.


The fairytale artwork is located in the landscape on the banks of the Rotte below the A12 near Bleiswijk. Commissioned by Prorail and GZH (Groenservice Zuid-Holland) and in collaboration with Grontmij and Heijmans BV. The work of art ‘Hortus Conclusus’ decorates in a playful way two bicycle and pedestrian tunnels and the public area in between. The tunnels connect the north and south of the recreational area De Rottemeren.






Cave Canem 2010

In the countries around the Mediterranean Sea you often see  decorated iron fences in front of the windows as burglary prevention.


Inspired by that application, Ron and Brigit Schreuders commissioned to make a window fence to embellish their front door in 2010. It was clear that their dog ‘Angel’ is the ‘guardian angel’, the protector and guardian of their home in Zandvoort. You can see Angel’s profile and the initials of the clients in the decorative fence.


In Rome and Pompeii you can see beautiful floor mosaics, which alert visitors to the dog’s vigilance: Cave Canem.



De Moor, de Dame en haar Hondje Berkman en Janssens 2005

Measurements: 40 m x 4 m


The Golden Age in Amsterdam

The artist duo Berkman and Janssens were commissioned to decorate the entrance of the ProRail building on the Ruyterkade in Amsterdam to make it recognizable. ‘We have researched the history of this place, the function of the former river IJ and the art treasures that came ashore in 16th and 17th century. Objects of silver, gold and ceramics from all over the world to Amsterdam. Forms of great decorative beauty. That was the starting point for the design,’ said Berkman. ‘De Moor, de Dame en haar Hondje (The Moor, the Lady and her Dog)’ is lit from the floor at night. In addition to an increase in the sense of social security, this also creates a fairytale appearance.


Artworks by Margot Berkman are often located at places where people go through, pass and continue. The artworks create space, ‘as if you were looking through a peephole and coming up with your own story, the idea of a different world, a fairytale world.’