The Silver Elephant of Rotterdam

The old station square of Rotterdam was chaotic and packed with trams, buses and taxis. But now that those are neatly relocated to the side entrances of the station there are people who feel that the new square is too empty and that it needs a statue. A proposal to move The Destroyed City, the famous sculpture by Ossip Zadkine, provoked a lot of discussions. The main argument against moving it is, in my opinion, that it is currently in the middle of the area destroyed in the 1940 bombing, while the location of the station square is just outside the fire border .

Bahnhof Zoo

Others have suggested to move Erasmus or Paul McCarthy’s Santa Claus (a.k.a. the Buttplug Gnome) to the station. But those two sculptures fit actually quite well at their current locations: Grotekerkplein and Eendrachtsplein. Therefore, on the day that the King opens the new station here is my proposal: a silver elephant. The new city reflected in the old; after all, this was, until 1940, the site of the Zoo, which started as an initiative of railway employees. And with over 100,000 copies sold of Olli, the collaboration between Blijdorp Zoo and Feyenoord, you can safely say that the elephant is a popular animal in Rotterdam and it’s surroundings.

Silver Elephant in front of Rotterdam central station.

Silver Elephant in front of Rotterdam central station.

UPDATE: In November 2014 a proposal for the station square by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson was announced. An artwork titled Kissing Earth, consisting of two huge transparent globes which kissed each other at the location of Rotterdam.

Not everyone was enthusiastic. The Facebook page Pleurt op met je ballen (Fuck off with those balls) got quite a few likes. I guess that if Facebook had existed in the fifties, The Destroyed City by Ossip Zadkine probably would never have become an icon of the city. But okay, they were indeed quite large, those balls.

Eliasson studied smaller and more transparent versions, but in June 2016 Kissing Earth was finally cancelled by the municipality, for financial reasons.

Immediately someone suggested again that Zadkine should be moved the station. I prefer the Elephant.

More virtual sculptures:

Happy Easter Egg

The Virtual Five

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