Climate activist Mouton now also risks prosecution in our country after action in Groeningemuseum
Last summer, Wouter Mouton clung to the safety glass of a Van Eyck in the Groeninge Museum in Bruges. The Madonna with Canon Van Der Paelen is one of the museum’s absolute masterpieces.
Although there was no damage to the painting, alderman for Culture Nico Blontrock still wants Mouton to pay for the costs. “It took a lot of time for the staff to get it loose,” it sounds. There is no exact amount.
“I don’t understand where this comes from”
Wouter Mouton himself does not understand where the summons suddenly comes from. “We are now eight months further,” says Mouton. “I have never had the intention to damage a work of art. But it is still necessary that I stand up for the climate.”
“It took more than three years for Bruges to have a climate plan. And even now it does not contain exact interim objectives and budgets. That says enough.”
It is not the first time that Mouton has been convicted for his climate activism. He also clung to Vermeer’s painting ‘The Girl with a Pearl Earring’ at the Mauritshuis in The Hague, in the Netherlands, late last year. Then he spent three weeks in jail. (Read more below the photo.)
He was actually sentenced to two months in prison, one effective, but appealed. That case is still pending, and here in Belgium he risks a hefty fine and a prison sentence.
The conviction by the City of Bruges is not the only punishment. Mouton has also been banned for life from visiting Bruges’ museums. “Too bad, I immediately apologized to the management after the incident. I like to visit the museums with my daughter and would never damage a work of art myself, not a hair on my head thinking about that.
The case comes up on Monday. Although Mouton informs our editors that it will be postponed. “My lawyer and I want more time.”