Hamer en sikkel | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 130, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



Ever since its inception in Soviet Russia during the spring of 1918, the hammer and sickle has remained one of the most recognizable political symbols, used on a worldwide scale. Although the symbol was designed merely as a Soviet substitute for the old czarist coat of arms, foreign communists were quick to adopt it as the most prominent symbol of their own parties and revolutionary aspirations. This process of international political transfer was not initiated by the Russian Bolshevik party or the Communist International, but seems to have been the result of more or less spontaneous developments that took different forms in different countries. This article analyses how the hammer and sickle was introduced in communist circles in the Netherlands. Who were responsible for this introduction, and what were their motives? It turns out not to be the party leadership, but a set of communist small traders and artists that initiated the transformation of the new Russian state weapon into a Dutch political symbol.


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