Hans van Houwelingen

Initials H.
Member of Society of Arts
Personal website


Hans van Houwelingen (born in 1957) is a visual artist who does not shy away from controversy. In his own words, he studies the relationship between art, ideology and politics, preferably by intervening in public spaces. He created a square in a working class neighbourhood of Utrecht whose paving replicates the design of a Persian carpet; he has removed monuments from their pedestals, swapping one for the other or placing them on new pedestals of gigantic proportions. Many of his designs are so controversial that they are never realised; these include his monument for the Olympic Winter Games in Turin, consisting of the blood samples of the 2500 participants, or his National Guest Workers Monument, meant as official acknowledgement of the role of guest workers in Rotterdam’s history. That is merely the consequence of his working methods, in which he seeks out the tension between politics and society and induces people to take a stand. But he also been enormously successful, for example with his Blauw Jan in Amsterdam’s Kleine Gartmanplantsoen, where for the past two decades life-sized bronze lizards have cheered up passers-by. Van Houwelingen studied at the Minerva Art Academy and the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten.