This artwork, the Door of War and Peace, is the conclusion of a many-year restoration of the Sint-Laurenskerk, built between 1449 and 1525. After the bombing of May 14, 1940, only part of the tower and parts of the outer walls of the church remained standing.
The relief and the doors, made of bronze, were designed by Giacomo Manzù. The panels depict the horrors of the war and the joy of peace. It was unveiled on November 22, 1968.
On the outside, the two doors together form one image surface, on which the theme of war is displayed, with violence and grief dominating. On the left a soldier, the helmet dangling on his back, lifts his knife to a man. The man is lying on the floor and makes a defensive gesture. A child looks on crying, arms raised, face in the grimace of a scream. On the right, a man’s body hangs limply on a rope around his waist. A woman lifts the piece of cloth that is draped around him and looks at his face.
Above the doors, on the tympanum, several figures are captured in a scene that depicts peace. There is joy and joy of life. This is where happy family life takes place, symbolized by a woman who playfully lifts her child above him, a young man holding a bulging drapery and a relaxed man leaning against a staff.
On the inside two Christian symbols are shown: the pelican — a reference to Christ because the animal feeds its young with its own blood in times of need — and a dove, symbol of the holy spirit.
In 1971 the Laurenspastoraat community was established (as part of the Reformed Church of Rotterdam) in order to resume church services. The community received a Cross of Nails replica from Coventry Cathedral in order to become a local center for peace and reconciliation. In 1981 the liberal Maaskant/Open Grenzen community joined the church and since then the two communities alternate their services.