Zuid-Holland's find ‘Trijntje’ on show in Museum in Arnhem

The Province of Zuid-Holland will make the oldest human skeleton ever found in The Netherlands - about 7,500 years old - available to the Open-Air Museum in Arnhem.  Trijntje will be on display there from 23 September 2017, during the ‘Canon of The Netherlands’ exposition.

Rik Janssen, Regional Minister Cultural Heritage, is proud of the cooperation with the Open-Air Museum: “It is fantastic, that Trijntje can now be seen in the Open-Air Museum in Arnhem. Willem Bijleveld, the Director of the Open-Air Museum, gave me a personal tour of this impressive exposition earlier this week. Trijntje is looking well!

Archaeologically speaking, Zuid-Holland is unique because of its wet subsoil. The peat and clay in the subsoil of Zuid-Holland have ensured that Trijntje and a few related finds were well preserved, allowing them to be seen by everyone. That is what we, as a Province, consider important; to preserve our archaeological finds to allow a wide audience to experience them. By knowing more about the history, you learn to better understand the present and can shape the future, And that is important for our future generations.”   Trijntje is an about 7,500 years old human skeleton and was found in 1997 during an excavation in Hardinxveld-Giessendam. The skeleton has been 'named’ after the Betuwe line (train-Trijntje), where it was found at a depth of 10 meters. The Province of Zuid-Holland is giving Trijntje on long-term loan to the Open-Air Museum in Arnhem.  Besides Trijntje, a number of other Zuid-Holland artefacts are to be admired, among which a half-finished ash wood paddle, a gouge-shaped awl made from the radius of a Mute Swan, used to process soft materials, cracked hazelnuts that indicate human consumption and the bottom jaw of a beaver with cutting marks. The cutting marks prove that at the time, the beaver was being hunted. The ‘Canon of The Netherlands’ offers an overview of the history of our country, from ‘Dolmen to the Present'. The exposition shows the highs and lows of the Dutch history, illustrated by historic persons, events and developments.

Who looked after Trijntje after her excavation?

After the excavation in 1997, under the supervision of Professor Leendert Louw Kooijmans, the University of Leiden's emeritus professor of prehistory, Trijntje has been examined in detail by local and foreign scientists. Because the skeleton was still so intact, the specialists were able to reconstruct how Trijntje looked during her lifetime.  The real skeleton, once the research and reconstruction were completed, was carefully stored in the provincial depot for archaeological finds of the Province of Zuid-Holland.  The Province recently also arranged for the skeleton to be preserved and restored.

What else does the Province of Zuid-Holland do in archaeology?

The Province of Zuid-Holland is an area, rich in archaeology. As a result, it tells a lot about our history. The Province wants to help protect this cultural heritage, and to allow people to experience it, and to use it. That is why we protect our archaeological heritage, make our archaeological knowledge available, and allow wide audiences to experience archaeology. The Province manages a large part of all archaeological finds from Zuid-Holland and stores these in the provincial depot for archaeological finds.