Intense encounter with a quarry

  • Jorrit Hulshof / master architecture / architecture and interior

“Look at the layering, the quiet serenity, the variety of forms, and the fluctuating light! What amazing beauty!” Poetic words that Jorrit Hulshof put to paper during his intense encounter with the quarry at Ratum. This quarry is an open pit in the bocage landscape where limestone has been mined for the past 80 years. It is the only place in the Netherlands with muschelkalk outcrop, where the stone is visible on the surface. Now that the mining is coming to an end as a result of depletion, it seems that the quarry may soon no longer be open to the public. According to Jorrit, the arrival of a vital function in the form of a museum could prevent this.

“A monument that shows the results of our society’s interference with the landscape.”

Jorrit placed architecture in the service of the quarry. The museum has been placed on the spot where the quarry meets the bocage landscape. From the first, intense view of the quarry, visitors walk to the core of the building, where the entrance is located. They then descend past the showrooms and the walls of the quarry to 36 meters below the ground, passing the history of the geological layers as they go. The showrooms correspond with the quarry walls, with the different floors reflecting the different geological layers. The collection of fossils, minerals and dinosaurs are exhibited at the levels where they might have been found. While descending the stairs, visitors come across three different soil layers in three different sections: limestone, clay and sandstone.


On arrival back at the cornfield, visitors can view a monument that shows the results of our society’s ‘interference’ with the landscape. Jorrit believes that this erosion in the earth should not be seen as a loss, but as an opportunity waiting for a new initiative and interpretation.