Statue of Spinoza with parrots in Amsterdam

Artist Nicolas Dings’ monument consists of a statue of the philosopher and a granite representation of an icosaeder- a globe comprised of twenty identical triangles- which symbolises Spinoza’s idea of the universe as a model shaped by human intellect. The local council requested a figurative representation with a good likeness to Spinoza’s head as used to be seen on the old thousand-guilder banknotes. The side of the pedestal will bear his name and his famous motto: “The purpose of the state is freedom”.

Spinoza’s coat is decorated with sparrows, parakeets and roses. “The parakeets are exotic pets that have been let loose and are now colonizing the trees of Amsterdam whereas the Dutch sparrow is barely surviving,”says Dings who thinks the birds are symbols of Amsterdam as a migrant city. The current bout of xenophobia sparked by the latest influx of immigrants has put Spinoza, who laid the groundwork for the Enlightenment, back in the spotlight. Moreover, Spinoza’s Portuguese-Jewish roots could be said to make him an immigrant too.


Link: Baruch Spinoza