4 out of 8 broken statues, vandalized by strangers
4 out of 8 broken statues, vandalized by strangers

13 statues beheaded, broken or stolen

To keep his dream alive, 50 identical statues of Martin Luther King were placed from Washington to Amsterdam on locations that refer to slavery and places that let us remember how important it is to end racism and fight for equality, regardless of gender, religion and race.

23 statues were placed in the public  space. When doing so, there's always the risk that there will be damage after some time. It was expected. But still, it was heartbreaking to find two third of the statues being stolen, broken, amputated and even beheaded. First reaction was to think of racist motives. The images of 'southern trees bearing strange fruit' immediately cross the mind. Rescueing the vandalized statues and bringing them home was first priority. It was so sad to be confronted with sheer vandalism... why do people want to destroy things? Do they think it is funny?

 

Beheaded in front of the West-India House, former HQ of WIC, slave traders in the 17th century.
Beheaded in front of the West-India House, former HQ of WIC, slave traders in the 17th century.
Dr. King's head was found a few days later...
Dr. King's head was found a few days later...

The statues were placed in public places, from Amsterdam to The Hague, up to Friesland. Ten of them have been taken inside and adopted by museums and institutions, like Museum van Loon, Museum of World Cultures and UN Peace Palace.

Five disappeared; stolen or taken away, their whereabouts are unknown. Eight were damaged and eventually came back, sometimes even after months. Those eight broken statues are the silent witnesses of the aggression, indifference and violence in our society.

 

Vandalized during 'King's Night', the party night before 'King's Day'.  How ironic.
Vandalized during 'King's Night', the party night before 'King's Day'. How ironic.
Too sad, totally broken into pieces at the place were the slave ship Leusden was built, killing 660 enslaved in a shipwreck.
Too sad, totally broken into pieces at the place were the slave ship Leusden was built, killing 660 enslaved in a shipwreck.
Beheaded at the Monument Aginst Apartheid and Racism, only a few days after the statue was placed.
Beheaded at the Monument Aginst Apartheid and Racism, only a few days after the statue was placed.

Rescued by the police

The statue placed next to Mama Baranka, the monument for Kerwin Duinmeijer in the Vondelpark, was stolen by an alcoholic, but the police caught the thief, when he was walking away with the statue under his arm. So again Martin Luther King ended up in the police station...  Luckily the police officers found out where the statue belonged, and the park managers picked it up.  It was heartwarming to discover that some people really took care of the statues and looked after them. They are the brothers and sisters who  sent a message, when they discovered something bad happened to the Dr. King statues. Thank you, strangers, for taking care.

 

Found after being in the archives of the municipality for three months... it had been standing next to Anton de Kom for almost half a year.
Found after being in the archives of the municipality for three months... it had been standing next to Anton de Kom for almost half a year.
Knocked off his feet, after  three months standing tall, next to the Nelson Mandela statue in The Hague.
Knocked off his feet, after three months standing tall, next to the Nelson Mandela statue in The Hague.

The numbers

8 Vandalized:

Monument Against Apartheid and Racism: beheaded, taken home

West India House: beheaded, taken home

Kerwin Duinmeijer: stolen and rescued by the police

Multatuli: fractured legs, taken home

Long Walk to Freedom: fractured legs, rescued by a friend

National Slavery Monument: beheaded, rescued by park managers

Anton de Kom: broken legs, rescued by municipal official

Slave Ship Leusden: totally destroyed, taken home

 

5 Stolen:

Dokkum, anti-Black Pete demonstration spot

HIghway Blockade, A7 near Joure

Dock Worker, Amsterdam

NiNsee, Amsterdam

Nelson Mandela Park, Amsterdam South-East

 

 

 

 

 

Rescued by dear friends...
Rescued by dear friends...
5 vandalized statues on view at Popinnart, Amsterdam, April 2019
5 vandalized statues on view at Popinnart, Amsterdam, April 2019
Article in national newspaper Het Parool, April 4, 2019
Article in national newspaper Het Parool, April 4, 2019