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Art work Silent Struggle at Akerkhof calls attention to suicide

15 January 2024

As from today, a special sculpture of a huddled boy is on display at Akerkhof. The sculpture, titled Stille Strijd (Silent Struggle) by artist Saskia Stolz, calls attention to young people with mental health problems, and the artist hopes to start a conversation around depression and suicide among young people. Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people under the age of 30. The suicide rate in Groningen is well above the national average.

The statue on Akerkhof
The statue on Akerkhof

Are you thinking about suicide or are you worried about someone else? Please contact 0800 0113 day and night for free and anonymously or start a chat on .

The striking statue measures no less than 2.5 meters high and 4 meters long and has a bright yellow colour. It is a boy who outwardly gives off a cheerful energy through the colour scheme but, in the meantime, his posture screams gloom and listlessness. The artist wants to call attention to the large number of young people who walk around with feelings of depression or thoughts of suicide but who do not dare to talk about it, most of them struggling in silence. There is still a taboo on talking about your gloomy thoughts, even though talking about them and sharing your thoughts may help. Stille Strijd travels through the Netherlands to draw attention to this important topic.

From 15 to 29 January 2024, the artwork Stille Strijd will be on display at the Akerkhof in Groningen. The artwork will also be part of the art tour of ESNS ART from 17 to 20 January 2024.


Portfolio holder Carine Bloemhoff of the Municipality of Groningen revealed the artwork this afternoon. She indicated that, as alderman, she pays a lot of attention to mental health: ‘Mental health is becoming increasingly important and the number of people with mental health issues is rising, also among the inhabitants of Groningen. We take that very seriously.’ Expert by experience Roeland de Wilde shared his story about mental health and emphasized the importance of discussing your problems with others. UG poet-in-residence Ruth Ruijgers recited a special poem.

The ceremony closed with singer-songwriter Marit Nygård. Marit uses her songs to better understand the world. Her songs give you a glimpse through the eyes of a student in her early twenties, trying to find plasters that heal wounds and maybe even putting one on in the form of a song.


From 15 to 29 January, various activities will take place in Groningen in light of the arrival of the statue. This programme of activities is a collaboration between Mentaal Gezond Groningen, the Multi-year programme for people with a mental vulnerability, the Municipality of Groningen, the University of Groningen, the Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen, the Noorderpoort College, the Alfa-college, Jimmy's 050, Usva, 113 suicide prevention, and Menzis.

Help and support

Are you thinking about suicide? Please contact 0800 0113 day and night for free and anonymously or start a chat on .

As the UG, we can help and support you in several ways. You are not alone. Take a look at the student well-being portal and see how we can help you.

Opening of the statue
Opening of the statue
Last modified:15 January 2024 4.50 p.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

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