- The Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Paraguay, Poland, Russia, and the United Kingdom all have former US presidents memorialized as statues.
- Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan appear the most.
- But George Washington, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Benjamin Franklin, Rutherford B. Hayes, Thomas Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton are also all remembered.
- China, for a while, even had a statue of Barack Obama that burst into flames – as a compliment.
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After their terms are up, some US presidents live on in bronze far from their homeland.
Memorialized and often built larger-than-life, governments use the statues to remind citizens of the past, to strengthen political ties, or to celebrate the former US leaders for what they did during their terms.
Alternatively, at times of protest, they can be a tool for sending a message. One president’s statue was even bombed by protesters.
The Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Paraguay, Poland, Russia, and the United Kingdom all have former US presidents memorialized as statues. For a while, China even had a Barack Obama statue that burst into flames, because he was “so hot” at the time.
Here’s where some former US presidents, cast in bronze, are scattered around the world.
Abraham Lincoln has a statue in Mexico City, Mexico.
There are also Lincoln statues in three other Mexican cities, including Tijuana. Lincoln is liked in Mexico, due to his stance against both the Mexican war and slavery, as well as his support for former-Mexican President Benito Juarez.
Benjamin Franklin has a statue in Paris, France.
Franklin’s bronze statue in Paris was gifted to France in 1906 by the New England Society. It was a replica based on a sculpture of Franklin by John J. Boyle, which was built for Philadelphia.
Franklin lived in Paris for more than seven years. He was the first US ambassador to France.
Thomas Jefferson also has a statue in Paris.
- Joel Saget / AFP / Getty
Jefferson’s 10-foot bronze statue was unveiled on the Seine, on July 4, 2006. He stands holding a quill and a drawing. French artist Jean Cardot made the sculpture, and it was donated to France by the Florence Gould Foundation.
Before he was the United States’ third president, Jefferson was the first minister to France in 1785.
George Washington has a statue in London, England.
Dwight D. Eisenhower also has a statue in London.
Eisenhower’s statue was erected outside the US Embassy, in Grosvenor Square. It faces the building where he was based when he was in command of Allied forces during the World War II. Margaret Thatcher unveiled it in 1989.
Its inscription reads: “The faith we hold belongs not to us alone but to the free of all the world.”
Ronald Reagan has a statue in in Budapest, Hungary.
Reagan’s 400 pound, 7-foot-tall bronze statue, at the Freedom Square in central Budapest, was erected to recognize his efforts to help free Hungary from communism.
When it was erected in 2011, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Reagan had changed Central Europe.
“Today, we are erecting here a statue to the man, to the leader, who changed, who renewed, this world and created in it a new world for us in Central Europe – a man who believed in freedom, who believed in the moral strength of freed people and that walls that stand in the way of freedom can be brought down,” Orban said.
Reagan also has a statue in Warsaw, Poland.
Reagan’s 11.5-foot bronze statue in Warsaw was erected to celebrate the tough line he took against the Soviet Union, which he is credited for helping collapse, and bringing an end to communism in Poland.
The moment it has captured was in 1987 when Reagan was at Brandenburg gate in Berlin and said to the last leader of the Soviet Union: “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
And he has a statue in Gdansk, Poland.
In Gdansk, a statue of Reagan is standing beside Pope John Paul II. The statue, made from bronze, was inspired by an AP photograph taken when John Paul visited the US in 1987, and honors Reagan’s support for Poland when it was struggling to bring an end to communism, which both men were staunchly opposed to. The former pope was from Poland.
Reagan was also well-known for leaving a candle burning in the White House window in 1981 to show solidarity with the country after martial law was enforced.
At the time of this photo, the statues arm had been cut off by vandals.
To mark 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Reagan got a statute in Berlin, Germany.
In November 2019, three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a new seven-foot Ronald Reagan statue was unveiled on the US embassy terrace, looking down on the spot where he called on Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the wall.
Some German politicians questioned whether the statue was necessary, since Reagan is already an honorary citizen of Berlin. But it didn’t matter since it’s on the American embassy’s land.
The statue is eye-level with Brandenburg Gate in downtown Berlin, and is partially visible from the street.
Abraham Lincoln has a statue in Moscow, Russia.
- Hector Mata / AFP / Getty
Pictured here is a temporary statue of Lincoln in Moscow, but the city has a permanent one, too.
In front of Russia’s federal archives is a sculpture of Lincoln shaking hands with Czar Alexander II. The statue was unveiled in 2011 to mark 150 years since Russia’s serfs were freed. Lincoln is immortalized with Alexander, because both men were responsible for the liberation of people – slaves and serfs.
Bill Clinton has a statue in Kosovo, Albania.
Clinton has an 11-foot, 2,000-pound statue in Pristina, Kosovo, which was unveiled in 2009 on Bill Clinton Boulevard.
The statue has one hand raised, while the other hand holds documents dated 1999, for when NATO started an attack on Serbia. It was this attack, which Clinton launched, that stopped Serbian troops from killing Albanians.
George W. Bush has a statue in Fushe Kruje, Albania.
- Arben Celi / Reuters
Bush has a 9.3-foot high statue with its sleeves rolled up in Albania. He was the first American president to visit Albania when he arrived in the country in 2007. The statue stands in a square also named after him, in a town called Fushe Kruje.
It’s another symbol of the goodwill Albania has towards the US.
Woodrow Wilson has a statue in Prague, Czech Republic.
Wilson’s bronze statue is 30 feet tall (including the platform it stands on) and is an exact replica of a previous statue of him in Prague. Both statues have his hands extended and are meant to resemble a Presbyterian minister giving a blessing, alluding to Wilson’s desire for nations to become independent states.
After World War I, almost every village in the country had a road named after him, or his poster hanging in a public space. He was called the “foster parent” of Czechoslovakia. But then during World War II, Nazi soldiers ripped the statue down, and are said to have used the metal to make bullets. This more recent statue has been compared to a “phoenix rising from the ashes.”
Hurry Truman has a statue in Athens, Greece.
Truman has a 12-foot bronze statue in downtown Athens near the US Embassy. It was erected in 1963, after being donated to Greece to honor Truman and his administration for giving $2 billion in aid to Greece to fight communism.
Rutherford B. Hayes has a statue in Chaco, Paraguay.
Hayes has a statue in the Chaco Region of Paraguay. Hayes is well respected in Paraguay, because while he was president, between 1877 and 1881, he was asked to settle a land dispute between Argentina and Paraguay. It was after the Triple Alliance War and the two countries were fighting over a large territory of formerly Paraguayan land. Hayes chose Paraguay.
Other than the statue, Hayes also has a a museum, a soccer team, a province, a town, and a holiday named in his honor.
Barack Obama briefly had a flaming statue in Beijing, China.
Obama had a flaming statute in China in 2009. He had a scheduled visit to China, and to celebrate, a local artist named Liu Bolin created a bronze sculpture that burst into flames, because he was “so hot right now.”
The statue was based on a photo of Obama when he was on the cover of Time magazine after being named the 2008 Person of the Year.