Besides graffitti, statues and sculptures are usually the only form of public art in a city - but not in Amsterdam! I discovered the first truly public and free art gallery is located in the center of Amsterdam, on a street corner near the Dam square. Located at the corner of "Spui straat" and "Paleis straat", It looks like a regular painting hanging on the streetcorner, but then you realize it is a digital screen with many paintings and drawings rotating. The amazing part is that they allow anyone to upload their artwork directly to this public screen. I hope more cities do this, because it seems like a great way to get more artwork out into the community. Leave it to Amsterdam to introduce such an innovative mix of fine arts and modern internet technology - Rembrandt would be so proud!
The 'Stopera' is a complex of buildings just off Waterlooplein, in the heart of what once was Amsterdam's Jewish quarter.
Properly named the Stadhuis en Musiktheater, its nickname 'Stopera' comes (ironically) from the name of the campaign to stop it being built in the (early-mid 1980s).
It is not a particularly pretty place, but it does have a couple of things worth seeking out.
I thought this large sculpture of a violinist breaking through the floor of the Musiktheater foyer particularly powerful. It is a memorial to Amsterdam's Jewish community.
The Multatuli statue was an inspirational work of contemporary Dutch artist Hans Bayens (b. 1924) as a tribute to Eduard Douwens Dekker. Eduard Douwes Dekker (1820-1887) who was a strong critic of Dutch imperialism and a popular Dutch satirist of the 19th century. He revelled and was famous for his skewering of the middle classes in their classism and racism. Dekker was actually born in Amsterdam as his father was a ship's captain. His father intended for Dekker to follow in his footsteps but trade disgusted Dekker and in 1838 he became a civil servant in Java and eventually became the assistant-resident at Ambon. In 1857 he was transferred to the Bantam residency of Java in Lebak gaining all the secrets of the Dutch administration in his career progressions. He really hated the abuses of the colonial system and was threatened with dismissal from his office for his verbal protests. Upon his resignation and return to the Netherlands, he became much more vocal about his indignation and desire to expose all of the scandals he witnessed. He did so by the sword of the pen in newspaper articles and pamphlets, and finally in 1860 with his novel "Max Havelaar" under the pseudonym of "Multatuli". This name was derived from Latin and means "I have suffered (or witnessed) much". He exposed the abuse of free labour in the Dutch Indies and caused quite a controversy. He went on to publish Love Letters in 1861 which were mordant unsparing satires. After Dekker left the Netherlands to live in Wiesbaden, he became interested in theater. He wrote the School for Princes (1875 in the fourth volume of Ideas) which expressed his non-conformist views on politics, society and religion. He eventually moved his residence to Nieder Ingelheim, on the Rhine, where he died in 1887. By 2002 the Society for Dutch Literature proclaimed Multatuli the most important Dutch writer of all time.
Ouderkerksplein, Amsterdam, Holland
Embedded into the sidewalk, between the sidewalk stones of the Ouderkerksplein and the square that surrounds the Old Church in the Red Light District is a bronze/iron sculpture of a hand caressing a breast. The artist is unknown. This sculpture was left secretly in the wee hours of the night. Over the last 15 years, this same unknown artist has placed numerous bronze and iron statues all over town, anomynously in the night. It's been discovered the artist is a local doctor who does the art in his spare time. The City of Amsterdam has since accepted his works as long as the identity of the artist is never revealed. This particular sculpture is a bronze female bust on the pavement in front of the Oude Kerk on Oudekerksplein square. It represents the women of the Red Light District. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
It was easier remembering Anne Frank by seeing this statue then standing in the long line at her house. It wasn't as sad, and I don't like being sad these days. Anne would be just a bit older than I am now if she had survived WWII. I'm glad people still remember her and all the other victims of that time.The statue is around the corner from the Anne Frank House.
At the beginning of our walk round Jordaan, we came across this lovely bronze sculpture. Thijssen was a schoolteacher and writer. He wrote books about his life such as 'Kees, the Boy' and 'The Grey Child'.
Apparently there is a small museum in Amsterdam about his life. Address: Erste Leliedwarsstraat 16, 1015 TA Amsterdam. Open Thurs - Sat, 12.00 - 5 pm. We will visit that next time!
Straying slightly from the Jewish quarter, across the street from Hortus Botanicus and inside of the delightful Wertheimpark is a little-known monument that reads "Noot meer, Auschwitz", with an explanation. I will not spoil the significance of this design for you, but it is something to see for yourself.
Definately one of my favorite things off the beaten path in any city.
Opgericht door Stichting 'One Peaceful World'. Beeldenpark maar tevens ook een soort hippie-zigeuner kamp. De beeldentuin ligt er nu wat kouwelijk bij, ondanks de in vrolijke kleuren geschilderde woonwagens en de vele door Theo Niermeijer (de ijzeren dichter genoemd) vervaardigde beelden.
Volgens sommigen de mooiste beeldentuin van Nederland.
The Gay Monument near the Westerkerk in Amsterdam is the world’s first and only monument for gays. It is a memorial to all persecuted homosexuals. Unveiled in 1987, the monument has for years been an inspiration and comfort to many people.
The Gay Monument is designed by Karin Daan and consists of three pink, granite triangles, together forming one larger triangle. The pink triangle is the mark homosexuals were forced to wear in Nazi camps. Since 1970, many have started to consider it as an honorary sign to war with pride, a thought that became the basis of ‘Gay Pride’.
The triangles of the Gay Monument each have their own meaning. The ‘water triangle’ of pink stone can be found in the water at the Prinsengracht. This is the triangle of the present. It is used as a setting to commemorate the victims of AIDS. The ‘memorial triangle’ on street level at the Prinsengracht represents the past. It contains a line from the poem ‘Aan een Jongen Visscher’ (To a Young Fisher Boy) by the homosexual Dutch poet Jacob Israël de Haan: “Naar vriendschap zulk een mateloos verlangen” (“Such immense desire for friendship”). The ‘stage triangle’ next to the Westerkerk symbolises a step towards a better future.
Near the Gay Monument is Pink Point, the information point for gays and lesbians. It offers a wide range of information on the Gay Monument and gay Amsterdam.
This is a statue of Anne located close to the house where she and her family hid during the Nazi crackdown. I guess it is credited to one Mari Andriessen and is at the Westermarkt in Amsterdam. Unlike the house where there are queues this place is not bustling and one can easily spent some tranquil time remembering what must have happened to her.
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