Thursday, September 6, 2007

20 years Remembrance

"Naar vriendschap zulk een mateloos verlangen"

"For friendship such an endless desire"

Jacob Israël De Haan (1881-1924)

On September 5th, 1987, history was written with the unveiling of the first "gay monument" in the world "to inspire and suport homosexual men and women in their struggle against denial, oppression and discrimination." It is placed on the Westermarkt in Amterdam, around the corner of the Anna Frankhouse. Funded partially by restoration funds for homosexuals in WOII, it's still the biggest and most visible monument specifically for gay people in the world. For 20 years it is a symbol of hope, recognition, acceptance,... Maybe not just for gay and lesbians, but all those who love differently.

The monument was designed by Karin Daan and consists of three equilateral triangles made of pink granite that are connected by an inlaid band. This band creates a fourth, larger equilateral triangle. One of the triangles is situated on the edge of the Keizersgracht and protrudes into the canal. This triangle has a set of steps that leads from the street and narrows to create a point that is suspended above the water. The point of this triangle, which symbolises the present, faces the National War Memorial on Dam Square in the centre of Amsterdam. The second triangle, which is raised sixty centimetres above the ground and doubles as a podium, symbolises the future. Daan placed the third triangle between the paving stones. It points to the Anne Frank House and is the "memorial" that symbolises the past. A line from a poem is engraved in this stone: "Naar vriendschap zulk een mateloos verlangen" ("For Friendship such an endless desire"), from the poem, "To a Young Fisherman" by Jacob Israël De Haan.