Colorful benches made of lots of little stones: you’ll find them in several places in Utrecht. For example, there are two versions on Wijnesteinlaan in Hoograven and Oog in Al can now count on such a delightful bench. But what do the seats do in Utrecht?
The benches on Wijnesteinlaan have been around for a few years, and the bench at Johan Wagenaarkade in Oog in Al is somewhat new: the last stone was attached to the bank in December 2020. Fifty volunteers worked on it. The seats in both places offer a view of the water and are thus nice places to take a breath while you walk. There are also a number of those delightful seating at the Plantage on Amsterdamsestraatweg.
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A search on the World Wide Web teaches us that these seats are called “social sofas”. It is a mosaic of seats placed in public places. The sofas are 2.24 meters long and have the shape of a chaise longue.
A thousand seats
The idea for the social sofas comes from Dutch cabaret artist Karen Brewers from Tilburg. I noticed that the normal seats where people could meet each other were disappearing more and more often. That is why she wanted to place a symbolic number of a thousand seats in Tilburg. Ultimately, the seats were distributed throughout the Netherlands. In Tilburg itself, you can now choose from over 250 social couches to relax on. Enne, number 1000 is also placed in this city.
From Tilburg to China
Meanwhile, social sofas can be found in many Dutch cities, three of which are in Utrecht. And even outside the borders of the country, seats are gaining popularity: there are copies in China, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Italy, Japan and Iraq. Seat costs are paid for through fundraising campaigns, the local business community, or local authorities.
solve the puzzle!
So, another lesser mystery in Utrecht! Have you been wandering around for a long time with a question for which you cannot find an answer? Let us know.