Tables with a story to tell

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

Tafelboom (Table Tree) gives uprooted trees in the central Dutch city of Utrecht a second life... as tables. The foundation picks up all the city's surplus trees and turns them into tables so the wood stays in the city.

Each table is as unique as the tree it was made from and comes with a small book telling the story of the original tree.   

(Read more below the video)

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In the past, all of Utrecht's trees were destroyed. "It was a real shame," says Egbert Boerma, one of the founders of Tafelboom. "The residents of the city have a link with their trees. They've been there for years. People have stories about them. It's a shame to throw all that away."

"Now that we're turning them into tables, their story will go on a bit longer," says Boerma. "Everyone who sits down at one of these tables will hear the tree's story. We're extending the tree's life by another 150 years." So far, Tafelboom has rescued over 60 trees. 

Some of the trees will actually return to their original neighbourhood. Together with some Utrecht residents, Tafelboom is making a forest of tables. When the project ends in 2013, they'll organise sit-down dinners at the exact spot where each tree used to stand. Then each table will be moved to a public space near where the tree originally stood.