Vroman bench 2024

Dear Vroman family,

Some of you may already be aware that the Leo ♥ Tineke bench just by the Utrecht Sterrenwacht building has disappeared. On October 7th of last year, I found an empty space on my daily walk through the Zocherpark. It had been neatly tidied, and the ground raked, so there was no sign of vandalism. A single flower lying around was still a testament to the function that the bench had taken on: in addition to cushions, notes, flowers, and feathers had been exchanged on that spot over the years. And now it was gone. My contact at the municipality was baffled and made inquiries at all departments: was there any maintenance going on, or what? No one knew anything about it, and the outrage was great. Various local media have published items on the disappearance, but no perpetrator or witness has come forward. So we're just going to assume it was stolen.

I could have reported this earlier, but I wanted to hold back the news until there some good news. Now, a few days before November 26th, 85 years after the Kiss and five years after the unveiling of the bench, I can announce that a new bench is coming! The municipality of Utrecht is providing a similar “Zocher” bench and is also generously taking on the costs of the decoration of the back rest, of course again by Britt Nelemans, who will now also do the lettering in addition to the initials L ♥ T; this time not on a copper plaque, but directly carved into the wood. Exactly when it will happen is not yet clear, but in any case within a reasonable time.

So no panic: the bench is coming back, even more beautiful than ever.


Arjaan van Nimwegen

Link to this story in the NRC news site (in Dutch)