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The National Monument on the Dam Amsterdam

On May 4th, 1956, HRH Queen Juliana unveiled the Memorial. The construction has taken the best part of half a year and the cost amounted to approximately 400.000 guilders [in those days approximately ₤ 40.000, ed.] The Memorial has been erected on the Dam square right between the Royal Palace and Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky. The construction measures a height of 22 meters, made out of white natural stone [travertine. ed.] and placed on a square pedestal.

Around the Memorial at the rear a lower memorial wall has been placed. On this wall a relief text can be read as composed by the famous Dutch poet A. Roland Holst.

In a general way, the text of the poet translated might be understood as follows:
"Never ever, from the ore in the earth to the eagles in the sky, any creature has been free underneath the sun, neither is the sun itself, nor the constellation.
But the spirit broke the law and put mankind on the breach.
From the very first incalculable many descended.
Fearing his high regard, the flocks returned within the boundaries of the law and became human peoples and threatened each otherís lives in a tragedy underneath a nightly cloud which is called the World.
From then onwards no man became free other than called upon from beyond his ceiling, no people than ruled upon from beyond its towers.
Lest this remains with us, salvaged as we were from this Reign of Terror by the underworld.
Not uncontrollable but only controlled from up and above the world, freedom will be our inheritance."


Also on the Memorial a Latin text has been sculpted written by Dr. J.P. Meerwadt which can be translated as follows:
"Here, in the hart of the fatherland, we pray the Memorial, that is carried by the civilians inside the innermost of their hearts, looks up at the stars of God."

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Source

  • Text: Ivo vd Akker
  • Photos: Mark Lafer