”t is Naatje’. A rusty memory

Contact - 1995

The creation of national monuments is a difficult affair, certainly when the topic is monuments to remember wars that have no clear cut overall majority ‘collective memory’ to sustain it. And history is a trombone: what seemed a right and glorious past or war today may change in a burning past or war tomorrow. The way we look at our monuments will change accordingly.

This story on the national monument that preceded the present national monument on Dam Square is a story about the attempt to revitalise the national spirit, after the lost war against the Belgians in 1839, through the erection of a monument. It failed. The nickname became: ‘Miss Rubbish’ – to translate it in a polite way. The citizens of Amsterdam didn’t want the monument. They let this be known by joking about it, and cheered when it was erased. The story is an example of failed top-down nationalization of history.

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