Jan Pieterszoon Coen Statue in Hoorn

The Netherlands

By Contested Histories Initiative

Nicknamed the ‘Slaughterer of Banda,’ the figure of Jan Pieterszoon Coen has become increasingly contested in recent years. The statue of Jan Pieterszoon Coen in Hoorn has been a disputed monument since its unveiling in 1893. The statue has been smeared with red paint and graffiti numerous times in the last six decades. In 2010 a citizens’ initiative expressed critiques regarding the statue of Coen, and in response, a contextualising plaque was added in 2012. Nevertheless, the debate over the monument has not abated. During the 2020 George Floyd protests, the statue rose to a focal point of discussion in the Netherlands. Critics continue to call for the statue’s removal, but local authorities and museums are reluctant to take a moral position in the debate.

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