Freedom Monument Nijkerkerveen

By Jan-Carel Koster


Based on the thoughts about the last war experienced in the Netherlands, we know a freedom that is considered normal today. But is that really normal? And is freedom as we have always imagined it to be?

Technical Information

Material:  Diabase
Origins:  Germany
Measurementes:  H. 200  x W. 60 x D. 60 cm
Weight sculpture:  3000 kg

The underlying idea of the sculpture

Thinking back to the Second World War, which many of us have not consciously experienced, it is important to realize that conflicts are fought during a war. Conflicts forced upon humanity by governments that rule our countries. In the run-up to such a war, the population is drawn into a kind of hatred towards another population group. This development in society must grow and does not happen overnight. In the run-up to a war, we (the people in society) are fed with feelings of hatred by the government and the media in order to make our hatred become so great that we want to fight against the “injustice created”.
But the exact reason for injustice has become so broad in those preliminary years that one clear reason is almost impossible to distinguish. The feelings of hatred are all that remain without realizing that we are all people of flesh and blood, regardless of origin, color, religion, etc. etc.

The light

A time of war is often seen as a dark time in which the population is treated as a ‘prisoner’ in their own country. To get rid of this you can fight the conflict. But returning hate for hate is never a solution.
If one wants to put an end to these dark times, there is only one solution: to ignite the light and make love visible instead of showing the dark feelings of hatred.
Just think of a dark room. The only way to see anything is to turn on the light. That is what should always happen during conflicts: turning on the light makes the space visible and gives people more of a sense of space and freedom. Space to discover new things to shape their love again.
That was not only the case during the Second World War, but that is how it has always been… Even now, now that we see and feel that the light, read love, is slowly turning into a kind of dark hatred, creating a division in society.


This division was also found in the Netherlands during WWII, although it was of course a completely different situation than today. But what matters to me is the feelings that prevailed among the population then and now. One spoke out and the other did not. One helped visibly and the other helped behind the scenes, as for example Jan and Dini van Meerveld from Nijkerkerveen did, who provided shelter to Jewish people.
All these opinions, ideas and feelings naturally also exist among the Nijkerkerveen population.

In Nijkerkerveen it was decided to have a War Memorial made to commemorate this. But in consultation it was discussed to have a freedom monument created.
The reason for this is because we can then let our thoughts go in both directions. By both sides I mean our thoughts about the victims of the war, but also the thoughts about the hard-fought freedom. The freedom that we still have to fight for. For that reason, it is important to direct our energy and thoughts in that direction.
As the population of Nijkerkerveen, let us set an example for everyone who is open to this and want to break the chains that try to trap us in the dark feelings of hatred. And together let us spread our light and let the love that blooms within us become a bright expression of freedom… Freedom that originated from Love.

More about the sculpture

The performance is both natural (organic) and abstract / stylized with some recognizable fragments.
The sculpture is 2 meters high from the base and should, as it were, represent a standing abstract figure wearing a kind of cloak. The figure is only recognizable by the folds of his cloak that are visible from the center downwards.

On one side you can see a kind of wing and on the other side a broken chain. The wing that forms part of the mantle serves as a protective angel wing around us (humanity). The wing also symbolically has the role of symbolizing freedom (think of the freedom dove of peace).
On the other side of the sculpture you will find a partial chain that is at first unrecognizable from above, but later becomes a clearly broken chain and merges into the folds of the cloak at the bottom of the sculpture.
In the middle appears a rhythmically harmonious group of abstract/stylized people, symbolizing the population. These ‘people’ are arranged in a heart shape.

The symbolic meaning of the chain and the wing are created around the center of the sculpture to represent that the population in the center is struggling with both feelings.
The broken chain on the one hand represents that we will not allow ourselves to be caught in hatred and will always want to live from love in which we are symbolically positioned.

In short, this Freedom Monument in Nijkerkerveen makes us aware of the freedom we have acquired by breaking with the darkness and by seeking salvation in the light.

In the light where we can and will discover freedom and love.

jan-carel searching rock


Diabase is a beautiful hard type of stone that is ideal for creating a sculpture in public spaces. Not only for its quality, but also for its color. The stone comes from the south of Germany, where a vein of approximately 800 km is hidden in the ground. There used to be many quarries that mined this stone, but nowadays there is only 1 open quarry that mines this stone. Unfortunately, little thought is given to the sculptors.

Technical aspects

Parts of the sculpture have been worked out with the chisel, leaving the order strokes visible. Other parts have been finished with a file and other parts have been completely or partially polished. This creates a color shade that Jan-Carel uses, for example, to give the rhythmically arranged population a polished shape or not. (there is also a symbolic meaning behind this (black / white – dark / light – dark people / enlightened people), you can think of anything about this yourself. The foundation should end just below the street work so that it is as if the sculpture simply stands there and belongs in the street scene. Because a kind of standing figure has been designed, it is better to maintain the maximum height of 2 meters. This means that one does not look up or down at the sculpture, but looks at the sculpture so that the sculpture can better integrate into society.


Start of the project


Are you interested in having a bespoke artwork made for you? There is a wide variety of possibilities, from type of (gem)stones used, dimensions and personalizations. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Jan-Carel to find out what’s possible.

Beeldhouwer Jan-Carel Koster _ Wash-Basin 5


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