Statues and Sculptures, Amsterdam
Ferdinand Domela Niewenhaus (1846-1919) was the most prominent socialist in the Netherland during his lifetime, and a pioneer in the movement to improve the lives and conditions of the working class.
Originally a Lutheran preacher, he lost his faith in Christianity and came devote his considerable energies to working for the fledgling Marxist groups present in Amsterdam. He was the first socialist to be elected to the Dutch parliament, in the 1890s.
I like this memorial statue, in part because it almost seems like a work of folk art! It really does seem to come "from the spirit of the people," which is surely what Domela Nieuwenhaus would have wanted.
Theo Thijssen (1879-1943) was an activist writer involved in education and politics in late 19th early 20th century Amsterdam. He frequented the cafes in the Jordaan neighborhood when it is a little more seedy than it is today, but it's appropriate that his memorial sculpture is in from the Cafe Thijssen today!
There's a Thijssen museum nearby - note that the website is in Dutch:
Eduard Douwes Dekker (1820-1887) was a popular Dutch satirist of the 19th century. He was particularly known for his skewering of the middle classes in their racism and classism, and was a strong critic of Dutch imperialism in the East Indies (now Indonesia).
Dekker published his best known work, the novel "Max Havelaar," under the pseudonym Multatuli in 1860. The name is derived from Latin and either means "I have suffered much" or "I have witnessed much." I had never heard of Multatuli under my March 2008 visit to the Netherlands, but his name came up again only two weeks after my return in the context of the Indonesian novel "This Earth of Mankind" by P. A. Toer, which I was reading for my book group here in Michigan.
The Multatuli statue was created by contemporary Dutch artist Hans Bayens (b. 1924) It's located in a square overlooking the Singel Canal.
This interesting sculpture near the Portuguese Synagogue (in the Jewish quarter) commemorates the Dockworkers of Amsterdam (and other union workers) for their spontaneous strike action protesting the deportation of Jews in February 1941.
The deportations occurred stealthily and suddenly on the nights between February 22 and 23, 1941, during which 425 young Jewish males were rounded up and sent to Mauthausen concentration camp. The strike was a symbol of Dutch resistance to German racial and political policies in the occupied country. It began on the docks but soon spread to other areas of the economy: shipping, rail, municipal services. . .
The Dockworkers memorial is the work of sculptor Mari Andriessen, and was unveiled by Queen Juliana in 1952. A commemoration of the role of trade unions in the resistance has subsequently occurred every February 25. We were here (just off Waterlooplein) on March 4, which explains the profusion of flowers and bouquets at the base of the statue.
The Westergasfabriek is an expansion of the Westerpark - an addition on the grounds of what had been an old gas factory. There's lot of interesting stuff happening here - some innovative landscape design: recapturing nature, integrating the former industrial presence with the suggestion of the inevitable triumph of the natural world. Fun to wander through!
There are also several nice sculptural installations here, including this intriguing piece. Thanks to the creative sleuthing of VT member Pieter jan V, I was able to discover that it is the work of prominent Dutch artist Herman Makkink (b. 1937), who has had a long career at the forefront of contemporary sculpture. Makkink is probably best known for having created the artforms employed in Stanley Kubrick's film "A Clockwork Orange."
"Belle," a Memorial to the sex workers past and present of Amsterdam, stands in a proud pose in the little square just off the Oude Kerk, the "Oudekerksplein."
The accompanying marker notes the statue was dedicated in 2007, and is the work of contemporary sculptor Els Rijerse.
The slavery monument is placed in the Oosterpark in 2002; at that year is was 140 years ago the slavery was ended.
More info; see: Slavernij monument website
Favorite thing: While walking, I noticed many sculptures and, unfortunately, I don't know Dutch so I don't know why many of them exist. I was able to ask my "guide", Vince, about this one. It sits across the street from the Heineken Museum at the start of a biking path. It is a memorial to 30 Dutch men killed by Nazi occupiers on this spot in 1945.
Favorite thing: At the Noordermarkt, corner Prinsengracht there is a sculpture of Woutertje Pieterse and Femke made in 1971 by sculpture Frits Sieger. It's a scene from a book by Multatuli.
The statue of former Dutch Queen Wilhelmina on a horse is located at the Rokin.
It's sculped by Theresia van der Pant.
Favorite thing: In the Oosterpark there's a statue called "De Titaantjes" after a title of a 1918 book by writer Nescio aka Jan Hendrik Frederik Grönloh (June 22, 1882 till July 25, 1961).
Since March 31, 2007 the Belle statue is part of the Oudekerksplein.
Belle is an ode to all prostitutes of the world.
This monument is located at the Frederiksplein.
I have to return, because I cannot find any info about it.