Tippin' the Scales

‘Homo sapiens non urinat in ventum’

6 Comments

Latin song ?!A free translation reads: “A wise man should not pee against the wind”

That is what is written on an architrave in the center of Amsterdam. Since most people do not speak Latin, not even the building commission, it was accepted to put on a new building in 1991. It was mend as a pun with a big fat ;-)
Max Euwe Square, Amsterdam
Most people do not know when they walk through these entrance gates that they are entering a prison, now a shopping center. Only when you see the buildings from above, you can see that the cross-building was the former prison. On the canal side a bridge has been build to connect the square to the Vondelpark. On the lower right hand side you can see the pop-temple Paradiso and also on the right in the middle the architrave with its funny text. The upper levels are offices and housing is build along the canal
Architrave Kleine Gartmanplantsoen
The round building houses Holland Casino.

I can tell you I do not read or speak Latin, but this is just… something funny that happened on the way to the Forum.

On the square which is named after Max Euwe, a Dutch Chess Master, you can play chess of course but also visit the Hard Rock Cafe, Wagamama, enjoy a beer or something to eat, during summer of course also outside.

[photos: BV Zaanen Spanjers CS Architects BNA]

Author: Peter

I'm a man from Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

6 thoughts on “‘Homo sapiens non urinat in ventum’

  1. I remember you pointing the inscription out to me Peter. I think we had just visted the Van Gogh museum? I walked MILES that day: trying to keep up with your buggy! A lovely day.

    Andrew xxx

    It was YOU who wanted to walk, and yes it was a lovely sunny day. We had a beer near the Rijksmuseum and some sandwiches on one of the other canals. We should do that again sometime… but take Said with you this time, I’m dying to meet him.
    PS

  2. I pointed it out to a couple of friends I was visiting Amsterdam with. Two things I took away — the builder had a sense of humor, and I was the only one who knew Latin.

  3. whan I told a dutch friend what was the meaning of these words , he didn’t belive me :) and he gave me an ugly look. . Well, for a romanian is not a big deal to undestand it :)

  4. But what does exacly mean : “It was mend as a pun with a big fat ” ? Thanks.

  5. @ Mica, It was mend as a joke, since the municipal building commission is very strict in what goes or doesn’t go on buildings. The MBC never expected that a translation of those words would be on street level too.

  6. I see ! Thank you !

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