The pillared turtle

Hans 't Mannetje

The column-bearing turtle, also known as the Border Pole, marks a boundary between different visions in the Nieuwmarkt neighborhood.

This landmark indicates where an unfinished highway ends. It was intended that a highway would run from Mr. Visserplein through Jodenbreestraat and Sint Antoniesbreestraat to Prins Hendrikkade.

Neighbors of the Nieuwmarkt area fiercely resisted this in the 1970s. Clashes with police and the Mobile Unit led to the construction being halted.

Stichting Amsterdam Versierd asked sculptor Hans ‘t Mannetje for a landmark. He made the hardstone turtle and assembled the entire sculpture from remnants from the city. For example, the thick hardstone column comes from the life insurance building ‘De Algemene’ on the Damrak designed by H.P. Berlage. And it consists of a block of hardstone with a text by Jacob Israël de Haan which shows that a bust of Rembrandt would have stood on the block.

The plinth reads:

until here the old city pattern disappeared
from here the urban renewal began in this neighborhood
In memory of this, in 1986 this memorial was erected

The sculpture stands in the Jodenbreestraat, where all parts can be admired.

This artwork is part of the series of Sunday Sculptures that Stadscuratorium Amsterdam posts on Instagram every Sunday.