Destinations Magazine

Lenin Statues in the Lowlands

By Amsterdam City Tours

A short drive to the northeast of Amsterdam lies the town of Assen, capital of the Dutch province of Drenthe. Unlike many Dutch cities, it does not have a centuries-long history of art culture - at least not to the same extent as cities like Amsterdam and Delft. Historically, it sort of went from being a small town, to a slighter less small town, to a small industrial town which is where it is at today. Nevertheless, the lack of influence it has had on classical art has endowed the city with somewhat of an open mind where art is concerned.

English: Drents Museum in Assen. Nederlands: D...

I am basing this assumption solely on the fact that the town of Assen has erected a 10 meter tall 17 000 kilo statue of Lenin in the city center purely for artistic purposes. As far as Lenin statues go (and I have seen quite a fair share of them in my lifetime, yay me!) this one is pretty snazzy, with a sort of Disco Fever vibe going on. It was put up in November of 2012 to promote the the Soviet Myth exhibition on display at the magnificent Drents Museum. Its placement has not been without controversy, in fact as can be expected many locals have considered it an eyesore from the start. In the wake of the inauguration of Prince Willem-Alexander in April, the statue will be torn down to make room for the town-wide festivities.

The statue of Lenin in front of Finland Statio...

You have to admit, it is a pretty great publicity stunt. I don't think I've ever heard of a statue of Lenin being put up for any reason whatsoever in any non-Communist or post-Communist nations. Actually, I was assuming The Netherlands has some sort of law against putting up statues of former Communist leaders. Unluckily for the citizens of Assen, apparently this is not so. The exhibit itself is another first for The Netherlands as a nation - the first time the lowlands are hosting an exhibition of art created during the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. It is titled "The Soviet Myth. Socialist Realism 1932 -1960" and contains around 70 paintings that were commissioned to promote Soviet society in the first half of the 20th century. The exhibition is on loan from the State Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg and includes work by such authors as , Alexander Samokhvalov, Isaak Brodskij, Arkadi Plastov and Kazimir Malevtsj. It's not often you get to see this type of art outside of its land of origin, I definitely recommend taking the trip to Assen to take a peak at it. The exhibit will be on until June 9th 2013.

Alexander Deineka, Conquerors of Space, 1961

Actually you might want to make two trips to Assen - as of July 9th, the world-famous Dead Sea Scrolls are coming to the same museum and they are definitely a sight to be seen.

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