Studio Libeskind’s reflective geometries shape Holocaust memorial in Amsterdam

Studio Libeskind’s reflective geometries shape Holocaust memorial in Amsterdam

Studio Libeskind crafts National Holocaust Memorial of Names in Amsterdam, designing dramatic geometric shapes that carry the message of remembrance 

Daniel Libeskind and Studio Libeskind have just unveiled the National Holocaust Memorial of Names in Amsterdam, a powerful design shaped by reflective volumes and dramatic geometries. The piece, commissioned by Dutch Auschwitz Committee (Nederlands Auschwitz Comité), aims to commemorate the Dutch Jews, Sinti and Roma who were murdered during the Holocaust, and the names of more than 102,000 victims are engraved on the brick plinths’ walls. 

The project is defined by a labyrinth of passages. This is created by a series of relatively low brick volumes arranged at different angles. They support four mirrored architecture pieces clad in stainless steel sheets, each forming a letter of the Hebrew alphabet and together forming a word that translates as ‘In memory of’. While the word can be only fully read from above, the striking composition creates a powerful dialogue with its surroundings, reflecting buildings, light and passers-by and drawing them into the composition. 

striking lines and dizzying angles at Studio Libeskind’s National Holocaust Memorial of Names in Amsterdam

The memorial sits in the city’s Weesperstraat, covering a generous 1,700 sq m, and is open to all, featuring landscaping and seating areas designed by Studio Libeskind in cooperation with Rijnboutt (also the local architect of record). The site was carefully selected and sits within the Jewish Cultural Quarter. It is adjacent to the Hermitage Museum, and just a stone’s throw from the Amstel River and its Jewish community and landmarks. The use of brick on the structure reflects the local urban fabric. 

‘The Dutch lost the largest percentage of their Jewish population in the Holocaust,’ says Libeskind. ‘The National Holocaust Memorial of Names is the first Holocaust memorial to commemorate the Dutch victims and the first of its kind in Amsterdam. My personal connection as a child of Holocaust survivors has made it increasingly important to be a part of this significant project. I hope it will become a place for contemplation, hope, and an important reminder to fight hate in all its forms for the people of the Netherlands and beyond.’ 

This important memorial is officially inaugurated on 19 September 2021. §

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