On the 24th of April 2004 the Royal Commissioner J. Kamminga officially opened a new attraction in the Biblical Open-Air Museum (Bijbels Openluchtmuseum) at Heilig Landstichting: the Roman Cardo. The Roman Cardo is designed by Dr. Ing. Kees Peterse of PANSA BV and consists of a colonnaded street, an exedra and three gateways. The Roman Cardo is part of the new main route which runs through the historical theme park, but links at the same time two older attractions.
The Biblical Open-Air Museum decided to build the Cardo for several reasons. In the first place the project had to function as a setting for the display of daily life in the Roman period. Secondly the new Cardo joins the Palace of Pontius Pilate, designed by Piet Gerrits (1878-1957) in the 1920’s, with the Via Orientalis, which was also constructed beforehand (1970’s). The new unity, in which the Roman Cardo serves both as a connecting link and a new centre, envisages a Romanised city in the Near East. The locations where both cultures meet are unique. Finally by building the Roman Cardo, the museum was able to display quotations of Roman town planning and architecture.
The realisation of the Roman Cardo is also a reference to the Roman origins of the terrain on which the new attraction is built. In Roman times an aqueduct ran across the present museum’s territory to supply the soldiers of the Legio X Gemina, who were stationed few kilometres ahead in the castra on the Hunerberg (see: Headquarters of the Roman Army), with water. In accordance with the Early-Roman architectural tradition in the Nijmegen region the columns and the entablature are not made of stone, but of oak-wood. Instead of the Corinthian order the less elaborate Tuscan order was chosen because of cost-effectiveness. The schematised Tuscan forms give the project a Gallo-Roman look.
Rather than a reconstruction the Roman Cardo represents scientifically based Roman inspired design. Using Roman architectural vocabulary, a tailor-made solution was created that fully complies with the museum’s brief. The Roman Cardo is besides an attraction a setting in which actors of the museum portray aspects of Roman daily life.
A computer animated tour through the Roman Cardo.
Location: Bijbels Openluchtmuseum, Profetenlaan 2, Heilig Landstichting
Client: Bijbels Openluchtmuseum, Heilig Landstichting
Architect: Dr. Ing. Kees Peterse PANSA BV, Nijmegen
Building management: Bouwbureau Bisdom Den Bosch, ‘s-Hertogenbosch
Contractor: Van Dinther Bouwbedrijf BV, Schaijk