Public Art. Amsterdam

BOLD TOREN BOUWMATERIALEN

Strike a Pose – Wafae Ahalouch

Amsterdam, the magic center, art and counterculture 1967-1970

Schip van Slebos

De Appel

Het Bankje

Het Raam

De Oude Kerk

Het Stoepje

Licht

De Brug

De Brug

Ruimtestructuur

Het Zandkasteel en de Amsterdamse Poort

How to Kill a Tree, Edward Clydesdale Thomson

City Cells

Nelson Mandela

Monument tegen Apartheid en Racisme

DOE IETS / DO SOMETHING

Spanje Monument

De Muur

Gedenkteken Steven van Dorpel

De Grote Glijbaan

Yellow Wings

Dolle Mina

Man en Schaap

Hortus Botanicus

Portrait of Jan Pieterszoon Coen, J.L. Vreugde

Anton de Kom

Now, Speak!

Tayouken Piss

Monument Bijlmerramp

Sequin Monument

Mama Aisa

Zonder titel (Twee Schuine Naalden)

Nationaal Monument Slavernijverleden

Monument for Martin Luther King

Gloei!

Voor de Bijen

Industrieel Monument

The Black Archives

Tussentijd

Corned Beef

Sami

Brace for Impact, Node #6

Untitled (You Don’t Have To Be Here)

Staalmanplein

Wegwerphuisje

Groot Landschap

De 7 poorten

Klimmuur

De Kies

Black Waves

Tectona Grandis

Stapeling omlaag

Animaris Rhinoseros Transport

Tuinen van West

De Poort van Constant

Fietstunnel station Amsterdam CS

Noordbeeld

NDSM-Werf

Ontmoetingsplaats

IJ boulevard

ADM monument

De Ceuvel

NDSM-Werf

Observatorium

De Ceuvel

Gedenkteken Ataturk

Twee Beelden

Sunday Seminar Pay Attention Please! curating the city

Official Opening Pay Attention Please!

De Kost en de Baat

Van Eesteren Museum and Aldo van Eyck’s climbing frames

Constructie met I-balken, André Volten

Mirage, Tamás Kaszás

Rembo, Bastienne Kramer

Untitled, Margot Zanstra

Horse Chestnut, Amok Island

2 U’s naar buiten / 2 U’s naar binnen, Carel Visser

Opstandingskerk, Marius Duintjer

Cascoland

WOW Amsterdam

Leonard van Munster, Under Heaven 02

Lex Horn, Concrete relief Hendrik de Keyser

Het Wiel, Jeroen Henneman

Herbert Nouwens, Brettensuite

White Noise

De Wachter

Feestelijke Beelden (festive sculptures)

Your Life is Calling

Untitled

Primum movens ultimum moriens

11 Rue Simon Crubellier

Lady Solid

Opgelichte Stoeptegels

Ode to Mungus, Menhir Tower and Spire

Untitled (Hildo)

The First Turk Immigrant or The Nameless Heroes of The Revolution – Framer Framed

Amsterdam, the Magic Center Art and counterculture 1967-1970, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Monument for the White Cube – P/////AKT

Monuments to the Unsung – Framer Framed

wild care, tame neglect – Frankendael Foundation

GET LOST – art route, several artists

Ode to the Bijlmer – CBK Zuidoost

Untitled (You Don’t Have To Be Here) – De Appel

We should have a conversation (2018) – De Appel

Fiep van Bodegom

Roos van Rijswijk

Alma Mathijsen

Massih Hutak

Chris Keulemans

Rashid Novaire

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Here on the Krugerplein monuments and honourable mentions are caught up in a symbolic struggle with one another. There is an invisible field of tension between different layers of history and ideology. The square is situated in the Transvaalbuurt. As in many other Dutch cities, it was named after the definitive annexation of the Dutch Transvaal region by the British in South Africa in 1902. The men who are honoured in the streets of the Transvaalbuurt are the ones who fought to keep South Africa in Dutch hands. They and their ancestors, the colonists who settled there after the arrival of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in the seventeenth century, were the Boers who created the system of apartheid.

In the years before the British victory in the Boer War (1899-1902), the prominent Boer Paul Kruger became fifth president of the South African Republic. As a champion of a Dutch South Africa, he was important for the relation between the Netherlands and South Africa. His name can be found on street names all over the Netherlands. But many regarded him as a coloniser who stood on the wrong side of history, a symbol of the centuries of systematic oppression of Black South Africans.

In the course of the twentieth century, the historical significance of the street names disappeared from the collective memory. It is debatable whether their symbolic function is still harmful. But the Transvaalbuurt reminds us that the criticism of the glorification of the colonial past has itself a long history. The street names were viewed in a new light with the growing awareness of the disgust that apartheid provoked. In 1978 the Pretoriusplein, also named after a Boer, was given the new name Steve Bikoplein. Steve Biko was a Black anti-apartheid activist who had died in the previous year. The anti-apartheid activists Louis Botha and Albert Luthuli also had streets named after them in this neighbourhood. They are examples of successful name changes in which new heroes have been chosen who are more in tune with the present Zeitgeist. They do not change history but are a recognition of a parallel history on which we can draw to reinforce the values of our society.

In the critical mentality of the 1980s there was also a growth in the popularity of counter-monuments: monuments that add positive symbols to the problematic elements in the public space to offer a fuller version of the narrative. Paul Kruger would certainly not have understood the Monument against Apartheid and Racism that Pépé Grégoire made for the square in that way. The monument draws a parallel between apartheid and the persecution of the Jews in the Transvaalbuurt during the Second World War. The placard reads ‘Who among us is more or less’. An arm and a leg are combined in the monument, a reference to the notion of unity in diversity. But their meeting is separated in the middle as a symbol of the damage that can be caused by a readiness to deny this unity. The symbolic opposition in this square shows that there is room in the public space for new, opposing narratives in which we view history afresh through the eyes of today.

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