Peace Palace

Henk Visch: The Witness

This bronze statue of a sitting cat is officially called “The Witness”. The installation of this statue was the final element in the construction process for the new Academy Building that opened in 2007. The statue is approximately 3.30 meters high and weighs 1,800 kilograms.

The statue is located in front of the entrance to the Peace Palace Library and the Hague Academy of International Law. At the same time, the cat sits exactly above the Library’s archives, thus guarding one of the world’s largest sources of knowledge on international law.

Sculptor Henk Visch describes the cat as follows: “This animal can see in the dark and there in the Peace Palace it is the watchful onlooker and witness to everything that we humans do not want to see. I could not help thinking about Alice’s cat, which leads her to the other side of the looking-glass and back again. Something else that played on my mind was the Egyptian cat-headed goddess Bastet, who accompanies the dead into the world of darkness. Visitors to the library who look out through the window are confronted eye to eye with the cat.”

Please click on the pictures in the gallery to enlarge them.

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