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  • Two years ago I went back to Siegen, my home town in Germany, and took a picture of the monument (a fountain) that celebrates Siegen's most famous artist, the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens. It is a historical fact that he was born in Siegen on June 29, 1577. The sculptor of the monument was Hermann Kuhmichel and he created the work in 1935.

    Here is the metaphor: the baby represents the newborn Peter Paul, and the three mothers symbolize the three cities that have fought a historical battle on which one is Ruben's true birthplace: Siegen, Cologne, or Antwerp. This is why they are all holding -- and claiming -- the baby as their own.

    Cologne and Antwerp had equally valid reasons to claim him as their son, as the Wiki tells us. But the funny thing is how Siegen became a serious contender: Jan Rubens and his wife Maria Pypelincks traveled through Siegen, while Maria was expecting a baby. Through an error, a case of mistaken identity, Jan Rubens was arrested by the police and held for several days, till the mistake was resolved. During that time, little Peter Paul was born. So it seems being the birthplace of Rubens shouldn't be something my hometown can be proud of, really, but here is the story, set in stone.
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