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Modern marble sculpture in Haarlem’s city centre

If you enjoy art, you should look out for a bold modern marble sculpture in Haarlem’s city centre. “Van A tot Z” (from A to Z) is the work of Marinus Boezem, a Dutch sculptor and conceptual artist.

Van A tot Z modern sculpture in Haarlem's city centre.

It’s easy to miss this minimalist yet bold modern marble sculpture in Haarlem’s city centre if you’re walking around looking up at all the historic buildings. To see the marble sculpture, you have to keep your eyes closer to the ground. “Van A tot Z” is on De Oude Groenmarkt just behind the main market square and St. Bavo Church.

Look out for two large black marble letters: the “A” is upright and “Z” is on its side on a square marble baseplate. It is the work of Marinus Boezem, a Dutch sculptor and conceptual artist.

I walk past this sculpture so often (usually on my way to get ice-cream at IJssalon Gelateria Bartoli🍦), so I decided to find the story behind it.

Writers and poets in the spotlight

The sculpture was created in honour of Dutch lyricist, Lennaert Nijgh but unlike many sculptures that celebrate people, this one doesn’t show the person its honouring. This is intentional.

The large marble letters symbolise language, the medium used by writers to create their work. The text engraved on the marble baseplate are lyrics from Nijgh’s work.

Fast facts

  • Lennaert Nijgh (1945-2002) was a lyricist for Boudewijn de Groot, a Dutch singer-songwriter and protest singer.
  • De Groot’s claim to fame was a song called “Welterusten, meneer de president” (Sleep well, Mr President). The song was written to protest the Vietnam War and the US president at the time, Lyndon B. Johnson.
  • Lennaert Nijghpad, a street in Haarlem North, is also named after Nijgh.
Lennaert Nijgh (right). Boudewijn de Groot (left).
Left: Lennaert Nijgh Right: Boudewijn de Groot 📸 Hans Peters (ANEFO) – GaHetNa (Nationaal Archief NL), CC BY 4.0

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