Koninklijke Saan

Centuries-old fragile baptismal font on a journey thanks to Meilink Chain Solutions

How to transport a fragile Medieval baptismal font without any damage? Sounds like a job for Meilink. It was a success, thanks to Meilink Chain Solutions. Because at Meilink, we say: Any challenge, any time.

A centuries-old hard stone bowl, depicting images of men and women That is the baptismal font which was discovered per chance in 1852 during excavations in Wageningen, when a monastery was being demolished. It was presumably buried during the iconoclasm around 1566. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam restored the bowl and added a pedestal in 1903. “The baptismal font was on display at the St. Stevens Church in Nijmegen for the past fifty years. In mid-December of 2015, the baptismal font was allowed to be returned to Wageningen, where it was given a place in the renovated Protestant church. Meilink did a great job on that, in collaboration with Koninklijke Saan,” says Erwin Diepenhorst of Meilink Edam. 

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Meilink Chain Solutions in practice

The baptismal font, weighing 1,250kg, is full of cracks and fissures. In other words, there was a considerable risk of the bowl breaking. Other crucial factors for Meilink were the weight and size of the bowl. First, we had to remove the baptismal font from the base very, very carefully. Then we designed an extremely sturdy container for the baptismal font. In the design, the chosen material and structure would guarantee the unscathed transport of a large and very heavy historical artefact. Meilink opted for hoistable sheet material container with a reinforced framework of wooden planks and a similarly reinforced bottom. Decades of Meilink’s acquired expertise came together in this design.

In this stage, the approved design is actually produced in the form of an extremely sturdy container. The thorough preparations in the design stage enables the actual production to be executed quickly and smoothly.

We then firmly packaged the baptismal font itself with wooden parts for extra protection. The baptismal font was also secured to the inside of the container with a steel strap. Why? For guaranteed hold. In doing so, we packaged a fragile, unique product as imagined in the design stage and realised in the packing stage.

Thanks to the sturdy formwork and our cautious approach, we managed to transport the baptismal font in one piece and unpack it on location without any damage. That transport was outsourced to a third party, but went very smoothly thanks to Meilink’s preparations.