So, we are in the strangest of times and I just don’t mean the Covid 19 Pandemic.
It now appears we are in the midst of an ICONOCLASTIC FURY the like of which has not been seen since the middle of the 16th Century in the Netherlands. Destruction of monuments has always been sanctioned by Governments and supported by their leaders, but these current events have been precipitated by ordinary people – Ok they’re protestors but they’re going against the Government of the day.
Similar events unfolded in the Netherlands in 1566 following a period of suppression, high taxation, economic collapse and food shortages under the then unwanted Spanish Rule. The aim was to disengage from the Spanish Colonial past – notice the similarities!
Today we have the perfect storm – A pandemic – Economic collapse – social Lockdown – issues of unemployment and a government lacking a direction. Part of the problem is that various members of society feel isolated, disenfranchised, and have a demonstrably higher death toll during the Covid 19 crisis. Is it any wonder they want to be heard, wish the country to disassociate from its colonial past, and rewrite history in a more socially acceptable manner; and like those protestors in the 16th century one way of expressing their displeasure is by tearing down those images and statues of figures they feel responsible for their current state.
The outcome in the Netherlands was the Protestant Reformation, Independence from Spain and a golden period (which lasted until WWII), that resulted in strong economic growth, a powerful Banking sector, and a flowering of the arts, that included, Reubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer and Hieronymus Bosch.
So was the destruction of various images and statues such a bad thing – certainly not for 16th Century Netherlands.