Student society Nji-Sri has made Wageningen a present of a statue: the Young Agriculturalist. The statue was unveiled on the Salverdaplein on Saturday 24 March.
Mayor Geert van Rumund with his gift. Left 'model' Kees de Wijn who modeled for the head of the statue. © Guy Ackermans
Artist Peter Roovers designed the statue in 1969 for the student society, which was housed in Deventer at that time. It represents a student at the National College of Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture, then located in Deventer. With a society cap on his head and textbooks under his arm, he is leaning nonchalantly on an old plough.
The original ceramic statue was placed on De Brink in Deventer, but fell prey to vandalism and had to be moved to safety. When Nji-Sri moved to Wageningen, the society decided to have a new, bronze statue cast, which was erected on De Brink in Deventer in 2005. The statue now standing in Wageningen is a copy of that statue. Its presence here can be credited to Wageningen’s mayor Geert van Rumund, who was given a small replica of the statue at Nji-Sri’s anniversary in 2010 and commented that he would like a bigger copy for the town.
That wish has now come true. The Young Agriculturalist stands between the trees on the east side of the Salverdaplein, facing the Nieuwstraat, where Nji-Sri is located. And a stone’s throw from the place where the Sower used to stand in front of WUR’s old headquarters.
With its gift to the town, Nji-Sri underlines its connection with Wageningen. The society was established in Wageningen in 1904 and moved to Deventer with the Colonial Agricultural College in 1912. The college returned to Wageningen in 2006, as part of Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences. Nji-Sri moved too, and is now a student club for the whole of Wageningen University. The unveiling on the Salverdaplein was attended by dozens of members. They shared beer and herrings and treated every speaker to the society’s greeting: ‘slamat’, which means something like ‘it is good’.