Netherlands: Monument originally dedicated to Dutch colonial general vandalised in Amsterdam

The Monument Indie-Nederland, a monument originally dedicated to Dutch General and commandant of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Joannes Benedictus Van Heutsz of the Dutch colonial period, was vandalised with graffiti. Footage from Sunday shows workers cleaning the monument off with pressure washers. The message «Van Heutsz is alive! Stop all forms of racism. Next stop: Coentunnel #BLM» was inscribed on a wall of the monument. Since its inauguration in 1935, the monument has been the subject of controversy and criticism. According to reports, critics initially believed the monument portrayed weakness instead of the strength of the late general, who is famous for forcing the long-fought Aceh war to an end, and bringing the Sultanate of Aceh (centered in what is now Indonesia) under Dutch control. Later, activists attempted to blow up the monument in the 60s and 80s, after Van Heutsz became more widely criticised for his excesses during the conflict. In 2004, the monument was renamed to Monument Indie-Nederland and was made into a more neutral monument to the relations between Indonesia and the Netherlands. The act of vandalism comes amid a growing trend of statue-toppling around the world, as citizens of former colonial powers and the United States reconcile with past actions of their states and important figures in their countries' histories, a trend that was sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.

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