Paula here. – April 2016. Trish and I are happy to be house/pet sitting near Leiden, (Holland). For a lesbian couple there can be no greater privilege then to stay in a country where same-sex marriage was legalized in 2001. (We married in Canada in 2005).
The Netherlands has been the leader in protecting homosexuals from discrimination in jobs, housing and in adopting children. Holland was invaded by Germany in WW2 and saw Jews, Homosexuals and other “undesirables” imprisoned or sent to concentration camps. Today, it is a liberal country that has a memorial to homosexual persecution of the past. (It can also stand for homosexual persecution that is still in 87 countries as of 2016).
The Pink Triangles.
The Homomonument is a located in Amsterdam the capital city of Netherlands ( although The Hague is the seat of government and home to the monarch and royal family -The House of Orange) It was built and designed to commemorate all gay men and lesbians who have been subjected to persecution because of their homosexuality. The opening took place on September 5, 1987. It’s design takes the form of three large pink triangles made of granite, set into the ground so as to form a larger triangle, on the bank of the Keizersgracht canal, near the historic Westerkerk church. The Homomonument was designed to “inspire and support lesbians and gays in their struggle against denial, oppression and discrimination. It was the first monument in the world to commemorate gays and lesbians who were killed by the Nazis. Later, similar monuments were realised in a number of cities all around the world. This is another FIRST for the wonderful people of Holland.
History of the Monument
In 1980 artists were invited to submit designs and a jury was assembled consisting of experts in the fields of art and design. The jury chose a design by Karin Daan, based on the pink triangle. With the triangle on the water as its central point, Daan expanded the design to make her work as monumental as possible without disrupting the surroundings.
The idea of a permanent memorial to gay and lesbian victims of persecution dated from 1970, when gay activists were arrested for attempting to place a lavender wreath at the National War Memorial (Netherlands) on Dam Square in the centre of Amsterdam. The wreath was removed by police and denounced as a disgrace.
In 1979 the Dutch gay and lesbian rights movement started an initiative to raise funds for a monument, with the support of groups in other countries. It took eight years to raise the necessary €180,000 to build the Homomonument. Most of this came from donations from individuals and organisations. The Dutch Parliament donated €50,000, and the city of Amsterdam and the province of North Holland also made contributions.
A monument in memory of LGBT victims of repression and persecution was dedicated in Barcelona, Spain in 2011. It was modeled after the Homomonument.
As well as the triangle on the canal, which has a set of steps leading to the water where floral wreaths are frequently laid, there is a triangle on land 60 cm high and a memorial triangle at street level. The three triangles—each measuring 10 meters (30 ft) on each side—together form a larger triangle connected on each side by a thin row of pink granite bricks. This larger triangle measures 36 meters on each side.
The alignments of the three points of the larger triangle are symbolic. One points towards the National War Memorial on Dam Square. One points towards the house of Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who was deported to her death by the Nazis. The third points towards the headquarters of COC Nederland, the Dutch gay rights group founded in 1946, making it the oldest continuously operating gay and lesbian organisation in the world.
On the triangle pointing towards the Anne Frank House is engraved a line of poetry by the Dutch Jewish gay poet Jacob Israël de Haan (1881–1924): Naar Vriendschap Zulk een Mateloos Verlangen (“Such an endless desire for friendship”). The text is from his poem To a Young Fisherman.