The Netherlands is full of statues that will make you look twice, and sometimes even laugh to tears. Here are our top five favourites in the weird statutes category.
Holland has always been a pretty artsy place, but there are some weird statues in the Netherlands that will simply make you exclaim, “WTF?”.
While we do understand that art comes in all shapes and forms, there are some pieces that even the most snobby art student will have a hard time taking seriously.
1. Butt plug Santa, Rotterdam
As surprising as it might be, 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, or marshmallows stacked on a stick? Nobody really seems to know the answer.
No matter what it was supposed to be, this unfortunate Santa will forever be cursed with this vulgar nickname. Because seriously, this is the Netherlands. Even 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-happy that this lovely piece of art still stands tall and proud in Rotterdam. Because nothing is more festive than Santa with a dirty sense of humour!
2. Giant tooth, Doetinchem
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. Just look at it: this magnificent beast of a tooth is every dentist’s wet dream.
While there seems to be no explanation as 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 feelings. Feeling confused, feeling intrigued, or even feeling like you should floss more often.
3. Spider walk man, Hoofddorp
Now, this is straight out of a horror movie! 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 anything? And why red? Not to mention that the statue looks like it’ll soon be activated to destroy the town!
We would love it if an art student actually explained this one to us. But in the meantime, we’ll do our best to suppress this image deep, deep down, until it eventually comes back to haunt us in our nightmares.
4. Concerned sea elephant, Leiden
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 five times fast). The sculpture represents the emotions of people who wait at the doctor’s office, and is now located at the entrance of the LUMC.
We’ve got to hand it to the sea elephant. He seems to have more patience than most people you can find in the doctor’s waiting room.
I mean, between screaming children and adults coughing in your face, you must have nerves of steel to remain this calm. And where on earth is his smartphone? On second thought, he might actually be a psychopath.
5. The gift of life, Den Bosch
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 straightforward, right?
This sculpture was actually inspired by an artwork of Hieronymus Bosch, and proudly stands in the town of Den Bosch. The more you look at it, the more uncomfortable you’re bound to feel.
But look at it from the bright side: this is the gift of life. Congratulations, it’s a… bird!
Honourable mention: penis fountain, Amsterdam
It pains us 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, until the city council wasn’t feeling it anymore.
And while the penis fountain may no longer be there, we will surely remember it forever, through the images that remain to remind us of its former glory.
Which weird statutes would you add to the list? Tell us in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in May 2018, and was fully updated in November 2022 for your reading pleasure.