Our History

Our past inspires us

Robert Hollman

Our origins are in Cannero Riviera, a magnificent corner of Lake Maggiore where Dutch industrialist Robert Hollman (Maastricht 1890 – Cannero Riviera 1972) decided to live the last years of his life.

Robert Hollman’s love for Italy, sensitivity, and concern for the most fragile led him to allocate significant proportion of his assets to establishing a private, non-profit foundation to care for people with visual impairment.

After he died on 28th December 1972, his final wishes were fulfilled, which made it possible to open the “Pilot Center for Blind and Multi-disabled Children” in Cannero Riviera in 1979, one of the first of its kind in Italy.

In 1986, due to a fire, the Center was temporarily relocated to Padua in a wing of the Institute for the Blind “Luigi Configliachi.”

When the reconstruction works were completed in 1988, the Foundation’s Board decided to keep the Padua Center open and to expand their services, by collaborating with social-health institutions in the area and to maintain the fruitful relationships that they had established. In 2004, the Padua Center moved to a new location enabling it to accommodate more families and provide more services.

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1966

In his will, Robert Hollman decided to leave most of his assets to a foundation, established in his name, which would take care of blind and deaf-mute people in Italy

1966
1972

In Cannero Riviera on Lake Maggiore, Robert Hollman dies at the age of 82 on 28th December

1972
1973

The project to establish the Robert Hollman Foundation in Italy is initiated with the establishment of the Robert Hollman Stichting in Amsterdam

1973
1979

The first Robert Hollman Foundation Pilot Center is inaugurated in Cannero Riviera, at Via Oddone Clerici. The Pilot Center becomes one of the first in Italy to be highly specialized in taking care of children with visual impairment and other associated disabilities from zero to six years old. In its first year of activity, eight children are welcomed.

1979
1986

A fire destroyed part of the Pilot Center; therefore, the center was temporarily relocated to Padua, thanks to the hospitality of the Institute for the Blind “Luigi Configliachi.”

1986
1987

The Robert Hollman Stichting Board of Directors decides that it will also keep the Center in Padua once the reconstruction works in Cannero Riviera are completed

1987
1988

With the reopening of the Center in Piedmont, there is a shift to an “early intervention” model, requiring the work of multidisciplinary teams and periodic stays of the child with his or her family

1988
1990

The two centers begin to welcome children with only visual impairment. In the same year, the Friends of the Hollman Center of Padua is founded.

1990
1992

The Foundation organizes the international conference “Early Intervention in Children with Visual Impairment”

1992
1994

The Padua Center becomes a full-fledged part of the Robert Hollman Foundation, and plans for a new headquarters are underway.

1994
2002

The Foundation organizes the international “Eurosight” conference on visual impairment and multi-disability

2002
2004

The Foundation’s new headquarters at Via Siena 1 in Padua is inaugurated. The management of the two centers is unified, although they maintain their own characteristics: outpatient services in Padua and inpatient services in health care homes in Cannero Riviera.

2004
2007

The Foundation organizes the conference “Pediatric neurology and severe visual impairment. Diagnostic and rehabilitation current events.”

2007
2012

The Association Fiori Blu is established at the behest of a group of parents who are assisted by the Foundation. The aim is to provide support in carrying out clinical, educational, cultural and scientific outreach activities.

2012
2015

The Foundation organizes the conference “Oltre lo sguardo: il cervello amico. Disabilità visiva e plasticità cerebrale” (“Beyond sight: the Friendly Brain. Visual Disability and Brain Plasticity”) and the international tactile book competition “Typhlo&Tactus” at the Cannero Riviera venue with play-centered educational workshops for local schoolchildren.

2015
2016

The City of Padua and the Robert Hollman Foundation start a project to create the inclusive City Park “Albero del Tesoro” (Treasure Tree). This urban space is free of architectural barriers to promote social inclusion and relationships. The co-design is entrusted to 17 organizations and social entities, with the Robert Hollman Foundation as lead partner.

2016
2018

With the collaboration of the City of Padua, the Foundation trains about 80 teachers and involves about 2,500 children using experiential workshops as part of the project “Let’s Think, Build, Play… Together. Everyone’s Park”. The Foundation is the editor of the first multi-code book “The Treasure of the Enchanted Maze”.

2018
2019

A collaboration with the municipality to make the area park inclusive is also launched in Cannero Riviera.

2019
2020

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Foundation develops and introduces new online and asynchronous modes of operation to support children and families during lockdowns and periods of social isolation.

2020
2021

A three-year renovation plan for the Cannero Riviera office is launched.

2021
2022

The Foundation organizes the “Typhlo&Tactus” international illustrated tactile book competition and the “Pages without Borders” international tactile book exhibition in Padua.
In the Cannero Riviera headquarters, the renovation of the ground floor and the total renovation of the floor dedicated to families is completed. The inauguration takes place in September on the occasion of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Robert Hollman’s death.
The number of children/year cared for by the Foundation’s two facilities reaches 400.

2022

Fondazione Robert Hollman