The Netherlands’ oldest statue is 400 years old | THE DAILY HERALD

The Erasmus statue in Rotterdam.

ROTTERDAM–It is 400 years ago this week that the statue of Rotterdam scientist and humanist Desiderius Erasmus was unveiled in his home city. It is the oldest statue in the Netherlands and stands today on a square in front of St. Lawrence Church in the Dutch port city.

  Well-known sculptor Hendrik de Keyser was commissioned in 1618 to make a statue of Erasmus. De Keyser is also known for sculpting William of Orange’s mausoleum, the town hall of Delft, and the Westertoren tower in Amsterdam.

  The solid bronze statue of the theologian with a book in his hands has an eventful history. It was unveiled on the Main Square in Rotterdam on April 30, 1622, and after much wandering and moving, it ended up at its current location.

  The Rotterdam Main Square was completely destroyed by the German bombardment on May 14, 1940, but the Erasmus statue miraculously survived. While clearing the rubble, he was removed from his pedestal and buried in the courtyard of Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. After World War II, the statue was placed in various locations.

  The statue was slightly damaged in 1996 when it suddenly fell from its pedestal. At the time, experts suspected that air pollution was a threat to the statue and recommended that it be displayed indoors from then on. After investigation, Rotterdam did not agree, after which the statue was given an outdoor location again.

  There will be a celebration on the Grotekerkplein square in Rotterdam on Saturday, April 30. Part of the celebration will focus on how it is exactly 500 years ago that Erasmus wrote about war and peace in his series Colloquia or “Conversations”.

  The humanist, who died in 1536, declared himself a pacifist above anything else, but understood that a country must defend itself if it is invaded by a power-hungry enemy.

Source: The Daily Herald