Amsterdam Residents 'Hostile' to Holocaust Monument
Amsterdam officials on Tuesday ordered a reconsideration of a multi-million-dollar Holocaust monument by US architect Daniel Libeskind, after residents complained it would take over their park.
"The project currently on the table does not fit in with its envisaged surroundings," invited resident Lina van Beest told the Amsterdam Center council before the majority vote requesting further consultations.
The five million euro ($6.8 million) monument is a project of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee that is planned to display the names of 102,000 Jews and 220 members of the Sinti ("Gypsy") community deported to Nazi death camps during World War II.
The "Path of Light" memorial is designed by Libeskind, master-planner of the new Freedom Tower in New York's Lower Manhattan and the Jewish Museum in Berlin.
"It's a good idea in itself, but it makes no sense building it here. The park's just too small," local resident Marja Ham told AFP.
The 1,000 square meter (11,000 square foot) monument is scheduled to be built in 2015 in Amsterdam's central 7,500 square meter Wertheim Park, in an old Jewish neighborhood, near the Jewish Museum and the Portuguese synagogue.
Residents have complained that the monument will take up too much space in the park, which currently has a monument to the victims of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, and they are worried about the impact of the expected 200,000 annual visitors.
Residents said they were handed a done deal after the council in March signed a preliminary agreement to support the project without having properly consulted them.
The council voted that a new agreement in principle be drawn up given residents' complaints, including looking at other possible locations for the monument.
"This is an important monument and it shouldn't be built in hostile surroundings," said council head Boudewijn Oranje.
Amsterdam has had a somewhat controversial relation with its past regarding the Holocaust.
It was reported last April that Jews from the Netherlands capital who survived the Holocaust, either in hiding or in Nazi concentration camps, were later fined for failing to pay taxes during the war,
The Dutch government made headlines in 2012 with its ongoing refusal to apologize for the apathy that the Dutch government-in-exile demonstrated toward the roundup and murder of most of the country’s Jews during the Holocaust.