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Controversial and prohibited

Despite the vast freedom of expression in the Netherlands, many political posters have been prohibited over the course of a century. They were banned from distribution or display in public or were removed by the police. In some cases, publishers, designers, and distributors have been prosecuted. This happened in the past and still does.

Why are posters prohibited? Some concern sensitive political issues, such as past colonial policy. Several posters that depict the Dutch authorities as exploiting and repressive have been banned, such as the communist party election campaign poster from 1929. More often, though, it is the way that a point of view is conveyed: obscene (the PSP party poster of the girl and the cow), too gruesome (Boycott Outspan), or too realistic (the composite photograph featuring Van Agt).

Finally, posters should not incite the public to commit crimes. Vandalism and murder remain punishable offences, regardless of any underlying political rationale.


1. Henri Pieck, 50 million Indonesians are being gagged, 1929
2. George Noordanus, PSP Disarming, 1971
3. Designer unknown, Don't eat Outspan oranges - Don't squeeze a South African, 1973
4. Rob Blomjous, All blessings come from behind, 1977
5. Designer unknown, Prize shooting, 1980


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