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You Are Here

The artwork ‘You Are Here’ is the concluding item of a series of artworks sited in District Oost since 2002. It is part of the ‘Legacy of the Twentieth Century’ project, whereby the district devotes attention to prominent people and events of this period. The other artworks are ‘Flowers‘ by Karel Appel, the Theo Thijssen monument by Jan Wolkers and the memorials by Steffen Maas for Gerard and Karel (van het) Reve, J.C. Bloem, Eli van Tijn and the Muiderpoortstation.

You Are Here
The artwork ‘You Are Here’ by Martijn Sandberg consists of a number of columns along the Oranje Vrijstaatkade in Oostpoort. Each column honours a particular place, resident or group of residents highlighting the character of District Oost during the twentieth century.
The title ‘You Are Here’ derives from one of the columns. It is a ‘pars pro toto’, a part symbolising the whole, for each column directly concerns the artwork’s location – District Oost and the legacy of the twentieth century.

You Are Here and background information
This website functions as an online ‘guide’ and is an integral part of the artwork ‘You Are Here’.
In the overview with ‘thumbnails’, the artwork’s contour is reproduced on the website as a line drawing. The website delivers background information for each of the columns with one click on a specific thumbnail. This consists of a commentary by the artist, a brief biography (if the column refers to a person) and an image of the figuration source.
The information ‘behind’ or ‘under’ each column – including mention of its name or event – is deliberately not visible upon the physical components of the artwork located in Oostpoort public space. When on location, the artwork invites one to literally ‘un-cover’ the ‘Legacy of the twentieth century’ oneself.

You Are Here and the sum of its parts
‘The artwork is what you see and read into the artwork’. Among other things, this means information on the name, the person or event is not an absolute ‘must’ or necessity to perceive and experience the public artwork.
The artwork ‘You Are Here’ is more than the sum of its parts. Each column may be more than simply a ‘trigger’ for the ‘Legacy of the twentieth century’ theme. After all, an artwork is in essence ‘free and open’ to personal interpretation and various readings are always possible.

You Are Here and the time line
The columns are positioned on the Oranje Vrijstaatkade: from the Oost City Office, along the old façades of the former Ooster gasworks and the residential area waterside to the furthest corner by the Polderweg. The series stretches out over the perimeter of Oostpoort as a ‘timeline’. This timeline ‘begins’ and develops in ‘time and space’ towards the East.
The sequence of the columns is not so much arranged in chronological order as on the basis of intrinsic artistic motifs (with respect to content), such as interconnections, relationship to the context and the direct environment.

You Are Here and materialisation
Each column is realised in concrete. There are several reasons for choosing construction in concrete. Technical, but also artistic. In addition to the contours in high relief, the material of the artwork is also a ‘symbolic’ reference to the twentieth century. Reinforced concrete as a construction material was officially introduced to the Netherlands then, and has been frequently applied since.

You Are Here and number of columns
The specific spot, event, person or group of persons included in the artwork design for ‘You Are Here’ were assigned by the city council. Of course, there are doubtless more names or persons relating to the district and the legacy of the twentieth century that may qualify for inclusion in the artwork.
At present, ‘You Are Here’ consists of 25 columns with different figuration, based on the following names:
Nescio, Trouwgroep, Jan Kassies, Gerard Reve, Fré Cohen, Elias Smalhout, Polderweggebied, David Joseph Wijnkoop, Martha Belinfante-Dekker, Leo Schatz, Edgar Cairo, Jacob Israël de Haan, Albert Hahn (coincidentally with the same sound in their surnames), Wally Tax, Johan Cruijff, Germaine Groenier, Jacques Presser, Jan Schaefer, Renate Dorrestein and Renate Rubinstein (coincidentally with the same forename), Cecilia van Vliet-Lichtveld, Albert Helman, Mathilde Wibaut and Nola Hatterman.
The columns are indicated by black squares on a map. The open squares are reserved for potential columns to be realised in the future, as part of the ‘legacy of the twentieth century’.


‘It was always like this’, column, 80cm x 80cm x 40cm.
‘Please keep it standing thanks’, column, 80cm x 80cm x 40cm.
‘Please keep it standing thanks’, column, 80cm x 80cm x 40cm.
‘Dear honest citizen do not read it’, column, 80cm x 80cm x 40cm.
‘You are here’, Oranje Vrijstaatkade, Amsterdam.