Sometimes it is ok if your government wants to store your fingerprints. Like, when they use them as artwork on city hall.

Last weekend Elmine and I strolled an afternoon through Deventer an old Hanseatic city in the eastern part of the Netherlands. We came across a shop window where a group of people were busy making clay moulds, which had us intrigued.

The clay moulds, it turned out, were made from finger prints, to be cast in metal and then used on the facade of the new city hall as window covers/decorations. A project by local artist Loes ten Anscher.

The finger prints are from citizens in Deventer themselves. One in every forty-three, from the city and surrounding villages, from every age, has been asked to provide a finger or toe print, to be cast in metal. The 2.300 prints are cast in metal and used on the newly built city hall. Every metal cast has a number, and the person providing the finger print gets a pendant with that number. They will know where their finger print is on the building, but noone else.

I really love this project, making citizens part of the building where those that provide public service work, and involving them up to the level where they have their fingerprints all over local government. One example where I think government storing my finger prints is actually not so bad!

One reaction on “When government wants to store your fingerprints, and it’s ok.

  1. Deventer also happens to be the birthplace of Samuel Holland who went on to become Surveyor General of British North America and who, in that capacity, completed the first comprehensive survey of what is now the province of Prince Edward Island, in the process dividing the Island into 67 township lots and selecting Charlottetown as the capital.

    This year in Prince Edward Island we are marking the 250th anniversary of this survey: my contribution is an open web app called

    From Deventer comes great things!

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