Netherlands: Responses to figurative art/naked women story

According to a De Telegraaf article last week, paintings by Ellen Vroegh depicting naked women were removed from the Huizen municipality after complaints by Muslims.

The municipality then felt compelled to hold a press conference and three spokespeople had their hands full all day answering phone calls. A spokesperson says that they got everything: unsubtle opinions and even threats. Many callers reproached them for giving in to the Muslims.

Huizen municipality response:

The municipality of Huizen has for the past year given artists a free podium to display art in the corridors of the ground floor of the municipality building. Currently Ellen Vroegh is displaying her paintings. Two of her paintings, which are hanging exactly next to the public counter of the 'citizen issues' department, received negative reactions from several visitors as well as from the employees. This is the reason the artist was asked to exchange these two paintings for two others. To make things clear: not to be taken away but to to moved to a place where citizens don't have to come in order to request such municipal products like passports and driving licenses.

The municipality has taken the standpoint that signals from the population and also from the employees should be taken seriously. Certainly when it's about issues which take place in the public space. Not everybody can appreciate certain art, and there people are obligated to come if they need a passport or driving license. The municipality has decided to ask the artist to move her art to a place were citizens don't have to be confronted with it. That means, that everybody who explicitly comes to view the exposition can look at them.

Mrs. Vroegh had then decided to seek publicity, because she is of the opinion that she has been discriminated in her work.

The municipality emphatically rejects and regrets that standpoint.

The municipality think that regardless of origin, belief, religion or other convictions, the voices of society as well as the voices of their own employees, should be respected.

Turkish mosque response:

The Turkish mosque in Huizen, Selimiye Camii, said that as far as they're concerned the paintings of Ellen Vroegh could have stayed where they were.

A spokesperson said in a press release that through the publicity the Muslims in Huizen have again been associated with issues with which they are not connected or want to be connected. "The Muslims in Huizen have not asked for anything, the Muslims in Huizen have not complained, and the Muslims in Huizen are not so petty that they take offense from every artistic expression that the would not hang at home."

"Again there is an affair in which Muslims are pointed out as an intolerant group which discriminates and censures," according to the mosque spokesperson.

Sources: Volkskrant, Huizen, Radio 6 FM (Dutch)

See also: Netherlands: Figurative art removed after Muslim complaints


Anonymous said...

Muslims are pointed out as an intolerant group which discriminates and censures---

I just have to put my head out of the window to see the situation all the way from Pakistan to Mauritania, and all other countries with a muslim majortiy including the Maldives, Indonesia and Malaysia to actually prove that comment right.

1. How's the freedom of expression, speech and the freedom of the press in the countries with a muslim majority? how's the Human rights situation in those countries?

2. How's the discrimination for religious, ethnic, sex, and sexual orientation in the countries with a muslim majority?

when you answer those questions you'll know the truth:

Muslims by general rule are an intolerant group which discriminates and censures.

Reality is a bitch(for some). the truth hurts.

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