Dutch town moves nudes after complaints

Artist says she feels discriminated against


A Dutch town hall has moved two paintings of nude women after complaints from citizens, including Muslims, stoking criticism that the Netherlands is curtailing artists' freedoms.

The town of Huizen, east of Amsterdam, confirmed media reports on Thursday that it had moved two paintings of naked women by Dutch artist Ellen Vroegh from a waiting room in the town hall to a less public position nearby.

"Visitors and some staff complained, not just Muslims, but others too," a town spokeswoman said. "We are against censorship but there are people who have different opinions about nudity and nakedness and we wanted to give citizens a choice."

The artist said she was the latest victim of heightened sensitivity in the Netherlands about Islam after a cartoonist was briefly arrested last week on suspicion of offending Muslims due to his provocative drawings.

"I feel discriminated against. This is really going too far. Must the Dutch now integrate in their own country? ... Soon art will be burned at the stake," Vroegh told De Telegraaf daily.

"This is figurative art in which the genitals aren't even visible. Just two breasts and a stick as a vagina."

In March, Dutch anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders stoked Muslim anger around the world with a film accusing the Koran of inciting violence and saying that the 1 million Muslims living in the Netherlands posed a security threat.

Dutch director and Islam critic Theo van Gogh was killed by a Muslim militant in 2004.