Citizens' initiative to move colonialist statue in Hoorn scrapped, but included in 'city talks'
A citizens' initiative to move the statue of J.P. Coen in Hoorn was scrapped in a city council meeting on Tuesday evening, but the city council agreed to add this initiative to the agenda for previously announced "city talks" about the statue and racism and discrimination in Hoorn. Initiator 23-year-old Gion Raap can live with this, he said to NH Nieuws.
"This way my vision is included, but there is also room for other sounds," Raap said. "I think it is important that other supporters and opponents can also express their opinion in addition to mine and that is possible with such a city conversation."
In June, the statue of Jan Pieterszoon Coen provoked fierce protests against the background of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations. Demonstrators demanded that the statue be removed, saying that "the butcher of Banda" is wrongly revered as a hero. The Hoorn mayor announced city talks on this topic, promising that they will happen before the end of the year.
Arwin Rood, D66 faction leader in Hoorn, stressed that the city talks must lead to measures and policy. "We must not have a conversation without taking measures. Whether that has to do with the statue or in general with the subject of discrimination. We must follow through on this," Rood said.
GroenLinks was also outspoken about the future of the statue. "The statue must be drastically adjusted or replaced by something else. We will continue to use our democratic resources as long as that statue remains unadjusted. Be happy that people are making use of their right to have a say, appreciate that, those are the expressions we want. If the statue remains, then I think the actions and demonstrations will not stop," the party said.
Jan Pieterszoon Coen, 1587 - 1629, was director-general of the VOC and aimed to strengthen the VOC's position in the Far East, according to NOS. In 1671 he was appointed governor general. He was best known for his conquest of Jakarta, which was later renamed Batavia. It is now called Jakarta again. Coen was well known for the violence he used. According to NOS, his greatest crime was the punitive expedition to one of the Banda Islands. He had thousands of residents of the island murdered after they delivered nutmeg to the English against agreements with the VOC.