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    Why Azerbaijan has a statue of Jean-Claude Van Damme

    Credit: Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Kingdom of Belgium

    Photographs of a statue of Belgian action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme in a village in Azerbaijan have prompted mass support from his fans, but it begs the question, why has the hero been immortalised in such an unusual location?

    Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg (born 18 October 1960), professionally known as Jean-Claude Van Damme, is a Belgian martial artist born in Brussels, actor, and director best known for his martial arts action films.

    Proudly standing in the village of Vandam, the statue of Van Damme by Azad Aliyev has also aimed to capture this martial arts spirit, depicting the hero doing the splits in across two tree stumps.

    While it is unclear when the stature first went up, according to a post by the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Kingdom of Belgium, it was probably inspired by the fact that the village name (Vandam) sounds a lot like the actor’s surname.

    This unusual connection saw some international attention when it was posted on Facebook and Reddit in late 2019, garnering enough attention for comment from Van Damme himself.

    “Another life-size JCVD™️ statue which is mounted in a village named ‘Vandam’ in Azerbaijan! By sculptor Azad Aliyev. Thank you,” the actor posted on his Facebook page, alongside a photo of the sculpture.

    This is not the only statue of the Timecop star, with another inaugurated the 21st October 2012 in front of the Westland Shopping Center in Brussels in presence of the Belgian actor.

    Jules Johnston
    The Brussels Times