Wankele sokkels. Omstreden monumenten in de openbare ruimte

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Statues, busts, memorials and other monuments have a tangible presence in public spaces and may therefore evoke a variety of emotions, ranging from joy and sadness to disappointment and anger. Some monuments are unifying, comforting and healing, especially when they are associated with more profound rituals, such as the Dodenherdenking ceremony on 4 May to remember the victims of the Second World War, or the Keti Koti observance on 1 July commemorating the abolition of slavery in Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles in 1863. Other monuments portray a biased, time-bound view of the past that divides, marginalises and excludes. A monument that may have gone unnoticed for years can suddenly provoke fierce reactions.
Debates and conflicts about statues and monuments have intensified in the Netherlands in the past decade. Some pedestals have become unstable The influence of the global Black Lives Matter movement have stripped colonial statues of their ‘white innocence’. Memorials to victims of the Second World War and other conflicts are now also open to debate. Public officials can respond in several different ways: do nothing, place an explanatory text alongside the monument, change its function and name, create a critical artistic conceptualization of the monument, move it to another location, or remove it altogether. In an effort to offer stakeholders some guidance, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences established a Committee on Controversial Monuments to examine what makes monuments controversial and how to engage in a well-considered conversation about them. The Committee’s advisory report focuses on three target groups: 1. public officials, policymakers and politicians; 2. institutions of learning, museums and cultural heritage centres; 3. the public, including local residents and communities of remembrance.
Original languageDutch
TypeKNAW Advisory Report Contested Monuments in the Public Sphere, commissioned by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
Media of outputPrinted book report
Number of pages184
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

The KNAW is the formal author of this report, excuted by a special committee "Omstreden monumenten". Chair and main author of the report: Maria Grever. Other committee members: Paul van Geest, Hans van Houwelingen, Gert Oostindie, Ann Rigney, Jennifer Tosch, Harry Tupan, Uğur Ümit Üngör

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