Artwork Data


Monument majoor Thomson


Arend Odé, Charles van Wijk






387 cm

Partial collection

Gemeentelijk monument

Artwork Location


Thomsonplein, Den Haag

City district


GPS data

52.079415341283, 4.2713682972021 View on map

Artwork Description


The first international casualty of a peace mission: that was Dutch Major Lodewijk Willem Johan Karel Thomson (1869-1914). He died on 14 June 1914 in Albania. Together with sixteen other Dutch soldiers, he had been sent out. The aim of their operation was to form an Albanian gendarmerie. This was necessary because when Albania declared independence on 28 November 1912, it was attacked by neighbouring countries. Moreover, an internal rebellion was threatened. That is why several major powers asked the Netherlands, as a neutral country, to send a peace mission. This made the seventeen soldiers a forerunner of the current 'blue helmets'.

Thomson's death, like the Balkan wars (1912-1913) and the Dutch peace mission, is easily forgotten as shortly afterwards the First World War broke out. To honour Major Thomson, a monument was erected on the square of the same name in 1918. His motto is inscribed on the bench next to the statue: 'He who wants to be a solid army reformer must realise that army and people have to approach each other'. It is not illogical that this soldier is being honoured in The Hague. Thomson was a municipal councillor there between 1909 and 1913. He was also a defence specialist in the Dutch Lower House from 1905 to 1913.

The Thomson memorial was made by sculptor Charles van Wijk. When he died in 1917 at the age of 42, Arend Odé completed the memorial.
The monument remains one of Van Wijk's few major works. The sculpture shows how meticulously he worked out details in stone. Look, for example, at the medals on the Major's chest. The folds in his trousers and cape are also rendered with a great sense of suppleness. Furthermore, the stone is smoothly polished. This is in contrast to the much livelier surface of the many small bronzes Van Wijk made. These small sculptures earned him the nickname 'second generation The Hague School'.