Come and check it out: Woudestein's own SocialSofa

The brand new SocialSofa in Woudestein park

Today a SocialSofa is unveiled at Woudestein. The beautiful stone bench with mosaic is a present from ISS, the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. Why? To remind people the institute is an important part of Erasmus University, to celebrate it’s 65th birthday, and to encourage people to socialize.

At 11.00 am the deans will unveil a special place to sit at campus Woudestein. The purpose of the new bench, in the middle of the Woudestein park, is foremost to make ISS more known among students. Sandra Nijhof, communication manager of ISS, says: ‘In Rotterdam, and even in The Hague, only a few people know about the institute. If you ask somebody in Ethiopia about ISS, he can probably tell you more than the average Dutch. With these benches we hope to make ourselves more visible.’

Symbolic mosaic
One side of the bench shows the skyline of The Hague. The other side an illustration of the Rotterdam skyline. Nijhof: ‘Although we’re physically not close, ISS is an official division of Erasmus University.’ There is also a tree featured in the mosaic, which stands for growth and development. Instead of leaves it carries books, which are a symbol of the knowledge produced by ISS. There is also an illustration of a world map, since ISS is an international institute where the whole world comes together. Nijhof: ‘The mosaic is meant to show what we do at ISS: creating knowledge and development worldwide.’

Social project
Besides giving visibility to ISS and a place for students to socialize, the SocialSofa is a social project. Made by people who have difficulties finding a job or have been unemployed for a long time, it’s a job reintegration project. There are about hundred SocialSofa’s in the Netherlands, all with different mosaics. Only last Monday one was unveiled at the main entrance of ISS in The Hague.

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