Unstable Pedestals - Controversial monuments in public space

Report by KNAW

On 23 October 2023, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) presented the report Wankele Sokkels - Omstreden monumenten in de openbare ruimte (Unstable Pedestals - Controversial Monuments in Public Space). The report examines controversial monuments in the Netherlands and offers recommendations on how to deal with public monuments that have become contested due to changing views on history, society and identity. The report is the result of a study by a KNAW committee chaired by Maria Grever, emeritus professor of Theory of History and Historical Culture at ESHCC.

The report argues that public monuments can evoke strong emotions and spark heated debates, especially when they are associated with colonialism, slavery, racism or other forms of oppression. The committee advises policymakers and stakeholders to engage in dialogue and consultation with all parties involved, such as local residents, descendants, activists and experts. The report also calls for more historical research and education on the origins and meanings of monuments, as well as better registration and documentation of public cultural heritage.

More information

The report is available online and can be downloaded for free (in Dutch).

Related content
The meeting “Controversial Monuments and the Changing of Mnemonic Regimes” will take place on Friday 8 December in Utrecht.

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