Russian broken tank on Leidseplein evokes many different emotions

Russian broken tank on Leidseplein evokes many different emotions
Russian broken tank on Leidseplein evokes many different emotions

A Russian tank has been standing on Leidseplein since today, which was destroyed by Ukrainian soldiers last year. Debate center De Balie wants to stimulate the conversation about democracy and how fragile it is. Although many passers-by find the tank impressive, not everyone is happy with it. “The conversation is starting, that’s good.”

The tank is part of De Balie’s ‘Forum on European Culture’ festival. This year’s theme is democracy. “Democracy is under pressure on all sides,” says director of the debate center Yoeri Albrecht. “Due to corona measures, internet developments, but also dictators.” According to Albrecht, it is important to start a conversation about this. The tank is a tool for that, because it shows the fragility of democracy.


The tank was destroyed in the village of Dmytrivka, at the Battle of Kiev, also near Bucha, where a large number of people were killed. Some passers-by find the tank impressive. “If you want to convey a message, you can do it this way.”

Mayor Halsema officially opened the exhibit with a speech, and it soon becomes clear that not everyone is happy with the war machine on the square. Through her speech ‘boo’ is shouted and shouted that the tank is ‘war propaganda’. Halsema: “Placing this tank is not a gesture of triumph. On the contrary. It is a gesture of pain, sorrow and broken democracy.”

Sea of ​​flowers

The tank was previously in the Freedom Museum in Groesbeek. Russian flags were placed there and the tank was defaced. Flowers were also laid down, which the museum kept removing. That is what the director told Omroep Gelderland. The museum does not want the ‘historic object’ to grow into a monument.

In Amsterdam, after Halsema’s speech, the tank is a veritable sea of ​​flowers and discussion ensues, but Albrecht doesn’t mind. “The conversation is starting. It’s very good that we have the right to speak out here. Let’s be aware of the fact that that is a great good.” He also does not foresee any difficulties now that the tank is in such a public place as Leidseplein.

The tank can be seen on the square until Sunday 4 June. The tank then returns to Groesbeek.

The article is in Netherlands

Tags: Russian broken tank Leidseplein evokes emotions


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