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.
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.
- 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.
- If you’re exploring Haarlem on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you should grab a to-go coffee at Coffee Habits Speciality Coffee. I hope they have the lemon cake on the day that you are there! It is delicious.
- Bij Babette, Haarlem’s only English tearoom has a beautiful, welcoming terrace. If the weather isn’t good, sit inside and experience the tearoom’s old-world charm.
- You can also see Haarlem’s narrowest house and discover charming little streets in Haarlem’s old city centre.
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