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The icons of Piet Hein

DOCUMENTARY  |  55 MIN. | in production

The Dutch have remembered the 17th-century admiral Piet Hein as a hero who captured the Spanish Silverfleet that helped the Dutch gain independence from Spanish rule. But was he really a hero? In other parts of the world he’s regarded as a mere privateer or even a pirate. This documentary will closely examine these different views on history and what they mean today, using the restoration works of the three main sculptures in his honor: the national monument in Rotterdam, his grave monument in Delft and his statue in Matanzas, Cuba. On the sites of his respective birthplace, final resting place and the location of the capture of the Silvervleet, people are working to uncover, interpret, preserve and reassess the history of the Dutch admiral. 

What can the Dutch-Cuban shared history tell us about Piet Hein and ourselves today?

We’re working in co-production with Dutch public broadcasting corporation NTR on a 55 minute documentary which will be aired on NPO2. The film peels away layers of our remembrance culture to attain some clarity on the historical figure Piet Hein and pairs that to deeper questions concerning the production of and identification with history. What can the Dutch-Cuban shared history tell us about Piet Hein? Who was he really, why did it take 250 years for his monument to be erected, how did his statue appear in Cuba and how do we deal with his (im)material heritage today?

In collaboration with
Fonds Bijzondere Journalistieke Projecten
Centrum voor Beeldende Kunst
Gemeente Rotterdam