“Well that’s nothing compared to mine. I caught a fish “twice” as big.” It’s likely that this has been said on more than one occasion on the so called Dutch “lie bench”. A ‘what-kind-of-bench’?

Our youngest generation probably doesn’t have any clue what a “lie bench” is, but the older generations in the Netherlands certainly will. And in particular the ‘old ones’ working in the fishing industry. Maybe they even told stories while sitting on it.

The lie bench is an ancient concept. There are records describing this special bench that go back until 1645. It is the place where the latest news is discussed and was originally located at a central spot such as a square or a market, but usually at a port.

The Dictionary of Dutch Language calls it a place “where idlers, for example sailors ashore, gather daily and reveal all sorts of stories.”

The lie bench is not ‘old news’. Four centuries after the first (known) bench was installed, to be more specific in 2016, a brand new lie bench sponsored by a bank (and in Dutch ‘bank’ means financial bank and bench) was placed at Stellendam, which attracted a lot of attention.

Nowadays you will also find pop-up lie benches across the Netherlands, for example at a hip festival like Welcome to The Village in Friesland, where questions like “How would we set up the world if we could do it again?” are discussed.

When you google “lie bench” you will find out that this typical piece of furniture is still hot and happening. If you fancy one at home you won’t be disappointed because there are multiple companies actually selling them online.

At Pefa we are a fan of being online. But let’s be honest, some things are better offline, like when you share juicy stories among friends or colleagues (on a lie bench).