Gay World History – September 5, 1987: Amsterdam’s “Homomonument” Dedicated
On this date in 1987, Amsterdam’s Homomonument was revealed and dedicated to all gay men and lesbians who have been subjected to persecution because of their homosexuality at the hands of Nazi Germany. The monument takes the form of three large pink triangles made of granite, set into the ground so as to form a larger triangle, on the bank of the Keizersgracht canal, near the historic Westerkerk church. The Homomonument was designed to “inspire and support lesbians and gays in their struggle against denial, oppression and discrimination.” It was the first monument in the world to commemorate gays and lesbians who were killed by the Nazis.
As well as the triangle on the canal, which has a set of steps leading to the water where floral wreaths are frequently laid, there is a triangle on land 60 cm high and a memorial triangle at street level. The three triangles—each measuring 10 meters (30 ft) on each side—together form a larger triangle connected on each side by a thin row of pink granite bricks. This larger triangle measures 36 meters on each side.
The alignments of the three points of the larger triangle are symbolic. One points towards the National War Memorial on Dam Square. One points towards the house of Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who was deported to her death by the Nazis. The third points towards the headquarters of COC Nederland, the Dutch gay rights group founded in 1946, making it the oldest continuously operating gay and lesbian organisation in the world.
The monument was originally designed in 1980, and commissioned after gay activists were arrested in 1970 for placing a lavender wreath on Amsterdam’s National War Memorial in Dam Square.