Sittin' on the dock

A brand new building deserves matching art. We asked Dutch sculptor Ramon Otting to create a sculpture for our Amsterdam Minervahaven location that would honour the rich history of the location but he did more. His artwork has built the bridge between history and the future. It challenges admirers to take a moment to ponder which direction to go in, something students will relate to quite well.

The task at hand was one that suited the artist well. As a lover of landscapes and history, Otting dove into the history of the Houthavens, and specifically Minervahaven. 17th century dock poles from this very area were used to connect the old with the new – a wave of glass and steel. The materials stem from old fundaments from the building site of this building in The Port of Amsterdam. Art doesn't get more circular and local than this!

A brand new neighborhood with some of the best modern architecture of Amsterdam, but where something essential never changed: the Port of Amsterdam formed the gateway to the world as early as the founding of Amsterdam and still does today. This spot was and still is the place where knowledge enters Amsterdam and exits it. Where students from all over the world find a temporary home in the city and shape their futures.


The inspiration for the sculpture SITTIN' ON THE DOCK comes from waves and docking poles which stand as a handhold and as a symbol of firmness, strength and solitude. But also from the feeling of being at a place which brings you inspiration, inner peace and reflection. This was beautifully put, and well said in a song by Otis Redding, (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay (1967), hence its name.

To Dutch sculptor/painter Ramon Otting (1969), the landscape is a huge source of inspiration. The landscape reflects our moods, is enjoyable, can heal, or gives cause for contemplation. This work is all about nature and what it does to us human beings. This interaction is essential. An almost physical ominous threat is present. Sometimes in dark and stormy skies, sometimes in overwhelming lightness. The superior power of nature compared to man.

A lesson from nature

"I'd love to literally transfer nature's behavior onto my works. To work like that is like almost merging with nature, even though there's always some sense of shaping. But of course this is never attainable, this can only happen in nature. Sometimes you can also go too far, so you fall over, but that's good too. In the end it's all about the endeavor, because we can never really attain nature's perfection. We'll always be confronted with our shortcomings and insignificance. But it's a requisite for us humans to persevere, on the road to the goal", says Otting.

Read all about it

The story behind the sculpture was captured in a book, that Otting presented to Student Experience CEO and founder Johan Verweij. Residents and visitors of Student Experience Amsterdam Minervahaven can peruse the book, that will remain with the sculpture.