Majority in Nuuk votes to keep controversial statue

The majority of citizens in Nuuk wants to keep the Hans Egede statue despite major opposition to the decision

The statue has recently been vandalized, which has appeared to be a starting point for the debate around it (photo: screenshot from https://www.facebook.com/luberthelsen)
July 22nd, 2020 1:11 pm| by Daria Shamonova
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Citizens in Nuuk, Greenland have voted to keep the controversial statue of the Danish-Norwegian missionary and priest Hans Egede standing, reports DR.

This decision has been supported with 921 votes while 600 have voted for the statue to be demolished. The result of the vote will be presented in the local council, which will make a decision regarding the statue’s future on September 2.

At the beginning of the 18th century, Egede travelled to Greenland where he tried to convert the Inuit population into Christianity and began its colonisation.

‘Massive opposition’
The debate about his statue started last month after the monument was vandalised with red paint and the word “decolonize” written on it.

The director of the Greenlandic House in Aalborg, Bo Albrechtsen, told DR that he was surprised by the number of people who expressed a wish to demolish the statue.

“The voting results that we are seeing now show a somewhat massive opposition. Even though it is not a majority, there is a significant part that is against. And it is bigger than I expected,” he said.

‘Symbol of colonial violence’
Placing the monument in a museum can be a middle way between the two options. Aki-Matilda Tilia Ditte Høegh-Dam, member of the Greenlandic Parliament, proposed the idea.

“Hans Egede was a missionary who led the colonisation of Greenland under a Danish king. This statue stands on top of a mountain and almost guards Nuuk, and it ultimately symbolises colonial violence,” she said.

The discussion around the statue follows global discussions sparked by the Black Lives Matter protests. Activists worldwide criticise statues for honouring people linked to racism or colonisation.

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