Statue torn down

Norwegians react to the vandalism of Col. Hans Christian Heg monument

Hans Christian Heg - Statue

Photo: Corey Coyle / Wikimedia Commons
Hans Christian Heg was a Norwegian-American journalist, anti-slavery activist, and politician.

Translated by Lori Ann Reinhall

The incident took place in connection with demonstrations in Madison, Wisconsin’s capital, the evening of June 23.

The statue of Heg was torn down and thrown into a river, as reported by the Norwegian newspaper VG. The reason is unclear. Heg fought for the northern Union states during the American Civil War and was an opponent of slavery.

Originally, Heg came from Lier before immigrating to the United States. The mayor of Lier, Gunn Cecilie Ringdal, expressed her regret that the statue in Madison had been torn down.

“I want to encourage the local authorities in Wisconsin to raise the Heg statue again as a symbolic gesture against racism,” Ringdal said to VG.

Recently, statues of persons tied to slavery and colonialism have been torn down in a number of locations in the United States and Europe. Some have been removed by local authorities, while other have been torn down by demonstrators and activists.

In Greenland a man was apprehended for having vandalized a statue of the Norwegian pastor Hans Egede. Egede was sent to Greenland to spread Christianity among the indigenous people in the 1700s, when Norway was part of Denmark.

Greenland politician Aki-Matilda Høegh-Dam, who is a representative in the Danish parliament, is of the opinion that it is high time to move the statue of Egede to a museum. She described him as a spearhead in the Danish colonization of Greenland.

This article originally appeared in the July 10, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.