It is in very great measure due to the collector H.J.E. van Beuningen’s inspiration and stimulation, that research into late medieval badges is taking place, and the results published. The Van Beuningen Family Collection now comprises more than 4.000 documented badges, making it the largest and most representative collection of late medieval badges in the world.

Two other collections, both differing in subject matter, preceded the third, the collection of late medieval badges. Van Beuningen started his first collection, that of prehistoric artefacts, at a very early age. Unfortunately the collection was destroyed during the bombardment of Rotterdam. However, this catastrophe was not without some benefit as far as Van Beuningen was concerned. As a result of the destruction of Rotterdam and the subsequent demolition activities meant to render the centre of Rotterdam suitable for rebuilding, a great many objects were unearthed. Between 1940 and 1980 van Beuningen built up his second collection: that of pre-industrial domestic artefacts dating from 1100 to 1800.

In the Eighties, Van Beuningen and his wife presented this large and comprehensive collection to the City of Rotterdam. Roughly 10.000 archeological finds were officially handed over in 1991, on the occasion of the opening of the Van Beuningen-de Vriese Pavilion, which was especially designed by Henket & Partners Architecten within the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen to house this collection.

Around 1975 Van Beuningen started collecting late medieval badges and his vision on the material hardly changed since. As well as in case of his collection pre-industrial domestic artefacts, he does not only focus on the object, but also on the larger cultural-historic context. Who were the late medieval people who attached the badges to their coats or hats, and when and why did they do so? En as well: why is there still so little information about the profane and/or erotic badges? Further research is still needed!

A collection is never complete, a collector never stops collecting...

New types or variations on already known badges still find their way into the still growing collection and are accurately documented.