Dutch Art Museum Chooses to Change Its Colonialist Name

Hyperallergic, Elena Goukassian
September 11, 2017

"On Thursday, Rotterdam’s Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art announced that it has decided to change its name to dissociate itself from its namesake, the Dutch naval officer Witte Corneliszoon de With. As an agent of both the Dutch West India and the Dutch East India companies in the 17th century, de With led many colonial expeditions. The institution’s decision to change its name was immediately politicized, causing a flurry of controversy in the Netherlands.

In an email to Hyperallergic, the art center’s director Defne Ayas explained that the name never really fit the institution and its mission. “We were named after our location in 1990, the street in which we are situated is named after [Witte de With],” she said. “Naming art institutions after locations in a bid to affirm neutrality was a trend in those days.” So, what will Witte de With’s new name be? That remains to be seen. Ayas — whose maximum six-year term as the institution’s director is about to end — says it’ll be up to her successor to decide next year."

More here.