About the Tattoo

The TattooThe symbol with the windmill, the roots, and the circle with points around it is a design created by Arthur Breur in the 1990s when he was challenged with the idea of getting a tattoo. He insisted that he could not imagine any design that he would want permanently on his body for the rest of his life.

So he thought about the things that he felt would represent him, permanently. It couldn’t include where he lived, because he had moved around to many places. It couldn’t be about a career, because his career had changed. Even regarding music, he felt that it couldn’t include musical symbols because every musical symbol is just a tiny part of what really makes music.

However, he figured he would always have Dutch ancestry, so he started there. The symbol of the windmill was obvious (the other choice being a wooden shoe, but that’s hardly inspiring). Windmills are tools that collect energy from the environment, in the form of wind, and turn it into useful power and motion. They also were historically used to communicate long distances, by positioning the vanes of the windmill at certain angles, and by decorating the vanes with banners or colors. The position of the vanes in the design is “approaching” (a vane is almost to the top, vertical position), which was used to communicate good news: weddings, births, arrivals, etc. Of note, the design of the structure of the windmill also takes the form of the letter A.

Similar to the windmill getting energy from the environment, roots take nourishment from the environment. They stabilize a plant as well. Combined with the windmill, they also provide the metaphor of “Dutch roots”.

The circle with points represents a compass, with the idea of knowing where one is and where they are going. It indicates that there are foundational directions or ideas that should be followed. (Note that it is only coincidental that the design resembles a cross; the design is windmill, roots, and compass points arranged in pleasing proportions and is NOT to be interpreted as a cross.)

Arthur Breur