The Netherlands got itself a new art gallery today – a very exclusive one inside the parliamentary complex and only open to people who are prepared to go through a metal detector.
The Vrijdenkersruimte – free thinkers’ space – is the brainchild of the right wing VVD and Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration PVV, who feel that freedom of speech is being eroded in Holland.
So what wonderful works of censored art are on show? Well there are drawings and poems by Theo van Gogh, who was murdered by an Islamic fundamentalist.
Then there are paintings by Ellen Vroegh, an unknown artist who won national fame when people objected to two of her naive nudes in Huizen town hall.
And of course, Gregorius Nekschot, an unknown cartoonist who found international fame when frogmarched off to a police station after a three-year investigation into his crass portrayal of Muslims as freeloaders.
Then there is work by writer Jaffe Vink, who describes Islamic culture as an error.
And to top it all, Aram Tamis’ photograph of a nude man putting on a condom, which the former education minister Maria van der Hoeven had removed from her offices.
Nudes and anti-Islam sentiment. That’s free thinking for you. Still, at least they timed the opening well, now parliament has closed up for the summer and everyone is going on holiday.
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