Antwerp is home to several symbols and stories involving hands. Such as the severed hand of a giant named Druon Antigoon. Hands have been one of the city’s symbols for several centuries, and visitors can find them in many forms anywhere, including this one hiding in plain sight.
This sculpture can be found tucked away in corner of a community square called Ruckersplaats, in the historic Vleeshuiswijk district (which surrounds the Vleeshuis building). Although it’s extremely obscure—seldom talked about even on the internet—its surreal design is well worth the visit.
The monument depicts a bronze arm sprouting four hands in the form of a sconce, almost like a prop from Jean Cocteau’s version of Beauty and the Beast. From a distance, it may look like an ordinary monument marker or even a drinking fountain, but up close, visitors will notice it’s an arm held upwards as if begging to be saved from hellfire. But what is its purpose?
According to the plaque, the untitled monument was created by local sculptor Sam Herciger and inaugurated in 1978 to commemorate the district’s renovation. Its design is clearly inspired by Antwerp’s symbol, but with a few noticeable twists that make it remarkable.