The Netherlands is full of statues that will make you look twice, sometimes even laugh to tears. 

Holland has always been a pretty artsy place, but there are some weird statues in the Netherlands which could often make you exclaim “WTF?”. And while we do understand that art should be taken seriously, there are some pieces which even the most snobby art student can’t defend (please, do try though!).

1Butt Plug Santa, Rotterdam

Image: F. Eveleens/Wikimedia Commons

As surprising as it is, the butt plug was actually not intentional. This statue in Rotterdam was supposed to depict good old Santa Clause holding…something? Is it a deformed Christmas tree, a candle, marshmallows stacked on a stick? We can’t really seem to find the answer.

But one thing we do know for sure is that whoever is behind this lovely piece of art had some pretty crappy friends. I mean, this is the Netherlands! Even little old grannies know what a butt plug is. Regardless of what really went down in 2001 when the statue was commissioned, we are oh so very happy that this lovely piece of art still stands tall and proud in Rotterdam. Because nothing is more merry and festive than Santa with a dirty sense of humour!

2Giant Tooth, Doetinchem

the-tooth-d-tower-work of art-doeinchem
Image: Google Street view/Screenshot

Dental care is important! And the citizens of Doetinchem are reminded of that every single day. While it hasn’t been confirmed whether this is actually a giant tooth or not, it would be weird if it’s anything else. I mean look at it! This pearly white is every dentist’s wet dream.

While there seems to be no explanation to what exactly this magnificent tooth is doing there, the mystery that it is shrouded in makes it even more intriguing. Because at the end of the day, art is all about feeling. Feeling confused, feeling intrigued, or even feeling like you should floss more often.

3Spider Walk Man, Hoofddorp

Image: Dqfn13/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

Now this is straight out of a horror film! This giant red sculpture goes against all laws of human anatomy. The poor red man looks just as uncomfortable as he makes us feel. And yet he leaves us with so many questions. Why is he bending over? Is he waiting for something? And why red? Not to mention that the statue looks like eventually, it’s going to be activated in order to destroy the town.

We would love it if an art student actually explained this one to us. But in the meantime, we will do our best to just suppress this image deep, deep down until it eventually comes back to haunt us in our nightmares.

4Concerned sea elephant, Leiden

Image: DutchReview/Supplied

Unlike the aforementioned entries in this list of weird statues in the Netherlands, this one actually has a very sweet story behind it. This seemingly well-mannered sea elephant is actually called homunculus loxodontus (try saying that two times fast). The sculpture represents the emotions of people who wait at the doctor’s office (it’s now located at the entrance of the LUMC).

I’ve got to hand it to this sea elephant. He seems to have more patience than most people I’ve seen at the waiting room of the doctor’s office. I mean, between the screaming children and adults coughing in your face, you must have nerves of steel to remain this calm. And where the hell is his smartphone? On second thought, he might actually be a psychopath.

5The gift of life, Den Bosch

Image: DutchReview/Supplied

The best way to describe this piece is “art”. Yes, it’s a man’s lower body. Yes, his upper body is nowhere to be found. Yup, he is giving birth. Yes, it’s a bird hatching from an egg. Yes, there seems to be an arrow penetrating that bird. Pretty straight forward, right?

This sculpture was actually inspired by the artwork of Hieronymus Bosch and proudly stands in the town of Den Bosch. The more you look at it, the more you feel sick to your stomach. But look at it from the bright side. This is the gift of life! Congratulations, it’s a… bird!

6Honourable mentions: penis fountain, Amsterdam

It pains me to say this, but the penis fountain in Amsterdam is no longer erected (pun intended). This glorious piece of art originally resided in the Red Light District, however the city council wasn’t feeling it so they ended up removing it. And while the penis fountain may no longer be there, we will surely remember it through the images that remain to remind us of its glory.

So here you have it! A list of five weird statues in the Netherlands. Let us know what you thought in the comments.

Feature Image: DutchReview/Supplied
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in May 2018, and was fully updated in October 2020 for your reading pleasure.

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