Freedom to love the one you want is not taken for granted. Present and former generations, here and elsewhere have struggled and suffered for it.
On September the 5th 1987 Amsterdam wrote history. Near the Westerkerk, a unique and impressive monument was unveiled ‘to inspire and support homosexual men and women in their struggle against denial, oppression and discrimination.
The monument makes homosexuality visible in the public space. Gays from the Netherlands and abroad put flowers on one of the triangles, remember their deceased loved ones, celebrate their marriage, meet friends at parties, gather for protest meetings or start actions.
On the monument you can find de line ‘Such an immense craving for friendship’ of the homosexual, Jewish writer Jacob Israel de Haan (1881-1924). It’s from the poem ‘To a young fisherman‘ from 1917.
To a young fisherman
Roses are not as lovely as your cheeks,
Tulips not as tender as your bare feet,
And in no other eyes have I ever seen
Such an immense longing for friendship.
Behind us was the eternity of the sea,
Above us paled grey the eternal sky
On the lonely beach wandered just the two of us
There was nothing else but the din of the sea.
The last day together I went to my City.
You sail and fish contentedly, I wander around
But find refuge in the city nor in the quieter countryside.
I am so tired, I have loved much..
Forgive me much, ask not what I have withstood
And pray I never succumb to your beauty.
Jacob Israel de Haan
From: Liederen, 1917