Leopold II Statue in Brussels
By Contested Histories Initiative •
The June 2020 global Black Lives Matter protests and the 60th anniversary of Congo’s independence on June 30th brought increased scrutiny of Belgium’s colonial past under the leadership of King Leopold II to the forefront of public consciousness. During this period, the Brussels monument of King Leopold was defaced as part of a wider national conversation surrounding the calls to remove all representations of King Leopold from the public sphere. This case study explores the dynamics of Belgians reckoning with its colonial past as a result of the influence of both global and domestic activists.