NATO’s Mystery Sculpture

nato sculpture65 years ago today – on 4 April 1949 – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded. Over the next 40 years, this intergovernmental military alliance between the Western powers would at times contain and exacerbate the Cold War.

At the entrance to the NATO Headquarters in Brussels stands a large, savage-looking sculpture in cast iron. This sculptural rendition of NATO’s logo is a familiar sight in the Belgian capital but its origins and creator appear have become unknown.* The confused provenance of the sculpture is matched by NATO’s emblem. Although approved on 14 October 1953, the organisation admits that it is unclear as to the exact origins, although the basic design was conceived by a member of the International Staff.

natologoOriginally set against a blue background, said to represent the Atlantic Ocean which bridges the United States and Western Europe, the four-pointed star symbolises “the compass that keeps us on the right road, the path of peace”, while the circle signifies “the unity that binds together the [original] 14 countries of NATO.” Read more about the known history of the NATO logo here.

* If you have further details about the provenance of the NATO sculpture please get in touch via About.Me or Twitter.

Sculpture at the entrance to NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Photo courtesy NATO.


9 thoughts on “NATO’s Mystery Sculpture

  1. and please also tell me when it was erected… under which Sec Gen…maybe under the hideous Fogh-horn Rasmussen… I would not be surprised… and how many tons of Iron has been wasted on ‘it’.

    1. Hi Brian. I haven’t found any more information out about it yet, unfortunately. Although the popularity of that post shows there are quite a lot of other people out there wondering where it came from!

  2. According to NATO’s site:

    “Following a suggestion made by the Greek representative of the Group, Belgian architect Raymond Huyberechts designed a motif inspired by the NATO logo: a stylised “rose des vents” cut by two circles representing the old and new continent. It would be made of a factory-oxidised steel whose red-brown tint would not be affected by atmospheric agents. The Council expressed their preference for this motif when the model was presented at a meeting held on 17 March 1970.”

    1. Dear Chris. A belated thank you for this information. It’s great to read that the sculpture was moved to NATO’s new headquarters in 2016 and is still a much-loved symbol of the institution after almost 50 years.

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