Beeldenroute Willem Arntszkade - Atlas Obscura

Beeldenroute Willem Arntszkade

How one woman gave orphaned sculptures a new home in the city of Utrecht. 


Due to reconstruction and development in Utrecht, many sculptures were left without homes. Although they were loved at the location they held for many years, when a street, square, or neighborhood is changed more than once the sculptures are not welcomed back. These sculptures will end up at a depot and are easily forgotten.

A local resident, Tini Chamboné-Mooij, a former resistance fighter, had other ideas. She saw a statue of the Pied Piper of Hamelin made by Paulus Reinhard in 1964, moved to the depot after the demolition of the school building in the 1980s. She thought the statue would be a nice addition to the green strip in front of the Willem Arntzskade.

It took years before Chamboné-Mooij managed to get permission to bring the statue to Tuinwijk, but she finally managed it in 2003. Another sculpture followed in 2005: The Weightlifter by Nel van Lith. More followed—the most recent addition came in 2023: Tree with Sheep by Jorien van Rooijmans-De Kruyff Van Dorssen.

After Chamboné-Mooij’s death, her son Charles took care of the sculpture park. He managed to give a new life to four more sculptures, so that there is now really a Sculpture Route that opened in 2017.  He thinks it’s a shame that the pieces of art are not returned or placed elsewhere. Then I prefer to bring them here.” He finds it particularly fascinating to find out where certain sculptures have gone. Using old photos and maps, he goes in search and makes a plan to move the statues, now together with the municipality’s Cultural Affairs department and the municipal Advisory Committee for Visual Arts and Design.

The Sculpture Route now contains seven statues. The route may be expanded in the future when other works of art in the city threaten to become orphaned.

Know Before You Go

The Willem Arntszkade is near the city center of Utrecht and easy to reach with public transport. The area has some nice parks to visit and a lively area with restaurants and some bars and shops.

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November 27, 2023

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