Brons / steenachtig
h. 520 cm
Loosduinse Hoofdstraat, Den Haag
52.054386875313, 4.239682930759 View on map
Theatrically, the bird raises its head and spreads its wings. It is the mythological firebird Phoenix, who rises from his ashes and burns himself to death to return as a young bird. This bronze animal, symbol of rejuvenation and resurrection, crowns a blunt memorial pole made of stone. With his choice of the Phoenix as the main element of the Loosduin liberation monument, the Hague sculptor Pieter Biesiot indicated that, after the Second World War, he wanted to look forward and embrace the newly acquired life in freedom. The stone needle bearing the names of the 24 Loosduiners killed in action shows the other side: the dark period of the war and Nazi oppression. Apart from the bronze Phoenix, it is this series of names that impresses the most.
The religious Biesiot produced much ecclesiastical art, such as crucifixes and Madonnas. His works of art can be found in churches in The Hague and elsewhere. His non-religious art can be found in schools and public buildings, on squares or wide pavements, such as the liberation monument in Loosduinen at the junction of Lippe Biesterfeldweg and Loosduinse Hoofdstraat.
Newspaper reports with photographs of the designs for this work of art have been preserved. These show the development from design to monument. In the first draft, the Phoenix and the names were already present. There were also two figures in the stone, an allied soldier and a resistance fighter. Biesiot omitted them in the final design. It seems contradictory, but this austerity actually gave the work more expressiveness. Mayor F.M.A. Schokking said the following about it during the unveiling in 1955: "This monument is there to say something to every passer-by. It would mean nothing if people were to pass thoughtlessly by.