D´r Knoop – D´r Knub

Unveiling of the Theo-Kutsch Roundabout on 29 August 2021 by the Eurode Mayors Dr Petra Dassen-Housen and Dr Benjamin Fadavian in the presence of the great-granddaughter of Mr Theo Kutsch D’r Knub’ is also depicted on the flag of the public entity Eurode. (Photo: Jo Pottgens)

The ‘Sculpture of Brotherhood’ was designed in 1970 by the artist Shinkichi Tajiri, a Dutch-American painter and sculptor with Japanese roots. The name of the steel sculpture, which cost 15,500 Dutch guilders (around 7,000 euros) at the time, is ‘Verbinding 1’ (Connection I). It represents two cords in a knot. In addition to the name of the official inauguration ‘24 Maart 1970’, the German inscription ‘Alle Menschen werden Brüder’ (All people will become brothers) is engraved in the concrete base. It was given the popular name D’r Knoop in Germany and D’r Knub in Netherlands, local dialect for ‘the knot’

The statue first stood on the Kerkrade side in the green strip between Nieuwstraat and Melchiorstraat. The ends of the nodes pointed north and south, towards German territory. The statue was unveiled on the occasion of the opening of the redesigned Nieuwstraat, by Kerkrade mayor Smeets together with the then municipal director of Merkstein Ludwig Kahlen. At the same time, a working group with members of the border municipalities was set up at the initiative of the mayor of Kerkrade. One of its goals was to remove the border barriers once and for all.

When Nieuwstraat was finally redesigned 25 years later in 1994/95 without border barriers, the sculpture on the roundabout was placed exactly on the line dividing the two countries. The sculpture was rotated to ensure one end of the knot now points to the Netherlands and the other to Germany.

On 29 August 2021, this roundabout, opened in honour of Mr Theo Kutsch, was given his name; the Theo-Kutsch-Rondell in German, and the Theo-Kutsch-Rotonde in Dutch. Theo Kutsch was thus honoured for his services in helping remove the border that separated Nieuwstraat/Neustrasse. For decades, he campaigned tirelessly to remove the border fortifications on Neustrasse.

Mayor Smeets with Theo Kutsch in 1970. The Theo-Kutsch Roundabout was later built on the same spot. (Kerkrade Municipal Archives)

Action by Mr. Theo Kutsch 1974 (Herzogenrath City Archives)

WDR – Report: „Kannste knicken, die Grenze – Eurode – eine Stadt, zwei Länder“
https://reportage.wdr.de/grenze#6120

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