At 185 meters, the Euromast is the Netherlands’ tallest publicly accessible phallic symbol. Of course this is a Freudian interpretation of an otherwise innocuous tower, but perhaps that’s typical of Rotterdam, because Rotterdammers tend to recognize phallic symbols in many harmless objects.
For instance, these days the now infamous statue Santa Claus by American artist Paul McCarthy stands on the Eendrachtsplein. The sculpture is known in the vernacular as Kabouter Buttplug (Butt Plug Gnome).
As the original name implies, the statue depicts Santa Claus, with a Christmas tree in his right hand. The city council originally purchased the sculpture to place it near the building of De Doelen music hall. From the outset, many people recognized the sexual connotation in the statue, thus it soon acquired its current epithet.
Santa Claus was not placed at De Doelen anyway, after opposition from people who had trouble with such a ‘perverse’ sculpture. In a certain sense, that’s a strange reaction, because what you see in a work of art says more about yourself than about what can actually be seen. In other words: those who recognize a butt plug in a Christmas tree are themselves the perverts.
Eventually, with the help of the Binnenweg shopkeepers’ association, the Butt Plug Gnome ended up on the Eendrachtsplein.
There, and shortly after, it temporarily had a mosquito net thrown over its Christmas tree. This was part of an anti-malaria campaign. Of course, many people inevitably saw this as a condom.