Moederland


Homeland, motherland, or was it fatherland? Moederland, of, vaderland?
Moederland, “land dat een of meer overzeese bezittingen heeft”.

Her embodiment, in a human figure, a female figure, an old woman, standing in the middle, or sitting on the tip, of a ship. Two Titans sitting at her feet, the Gods of wine, or sea, or river, pouring wine or water out of their jugs at her feet, on her right and on her left, in perfect symmetry, like twins.

The center of the world. The vastness of the empire. 55 meters high to the top of the tower and 79 meters wide: “The eighth wonder of the world”

The end of the 80-year war, the beginning of the Golden Age.


To the right of the old woman, is the baby Arab, a baby boy with a baby turban, offering a flower, with respect and humility. Then the adult Arab, offering a

camel, of course, with a larger and more graceful turban, two women behind him in the background, are carrying two huge baskets on their heads.

A hunter, man hunter, with a bow and arrows, normal, without any exaggerated features, is taking the left arm of another human, definitely a slave, as his muscles are prominent, his head bowed, his body bent under the weight of a very heavy I-don’t-know-what, the cloth wrapped around his waist falling down, his lips and eyes clearly demonstrating his submission.


To the right of the slave, the Native American is sitting, with a feather crown, smoking a pipe, the tobacco exploited from the New World, or, offered respectfully and willingly by Native Americans. Behind him, there are farmers, miners, gold and silver mines, and of course the plantations, I think I can even see the cotton plant in the background.

It’s the Dutch Golden Age, mid 17th century; the empire expands across five continents, all seas and oceans.


On the left of the old woman, after the sitting God of wine, or sea, or whatever, two little angel boys with their little dicks hanging, one bringing grapes and the other books, in the background there are cows and a peasant, working the earth with the cows.

A foreign king or queen is offering lots of different fruits, behind him/her a horse, rhen, an African boy carrying a hawk on his arm and an African woman, topless, with large prominent breasts, the only naked figure, holding a lion by his neck, bringing it gracefully as a present to the old woman, a snake at her feet, and behind her an elephant and another African, a young man, recognizable by his thick curly hair and exaggerated lips, just like a minstrel show character, carrying a chameleon on his right arm.


Inside, in the so called Citizens' Hall:

“On a throne above the entrance is the Amsterdam Maiden, who represents the city. She looks down over the world and the northern sky, which are represented by large maps in the floor. Around her are statues depicting the four elements and, in the galleries, are statues depicting the planets. The unspoken message? Amsterdam is the center of the universe.”


Behind that image with the “motherland” at its center, Atlas is standing, the Titan, bent, under the weight of the skies, forever, for eternity,

“If he drops the heavens, Amsterdam too will fall. Generations of Amsterdammers warned their children of that calamity.”


Behind Atlas, a woman is standing, holding an olive branch in one hand and a staff of Mercury in the other. In Amsterdam, peace and commerce go hand in hand. Cameras are placed behind her, so that:

“on May the 4th, when the victims of war are commemorated with a two minute silence, people in front of the Television look at Dam Square over the shoulder of PEACE,”

Over the shoulder of the woman holding olive branch and mercury, on top of a colossal building, “the eighth wonder of the world”, a monument glorifying the colonial empire, its vastness, the Golden Age, the so called diversity of the so called race of all those conquered, each offering the old woman, the “motherland”, what his/her homeland has to offer, elegantly, contently, humbly and proudly.





© Alireza Abbasy