'Fault in Our Stars' Amsterdam Bench Goes Missing

"The Fault in Our Stars"
"The Fault in Our Stars"
 James Bridges

AMSTERDAM — The city of Amsterdam isn't quite sure whether to blame fate or human error, but a bench upon which the star-crossed teenage lovers talk and kiss in the hit film The Fault in Our Stars is missing.

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The green bench that used to sit on the Leidsdegracht resembles hundreds of others around the city, and its absence went unnoticed for at least a month — probably because someone placed a large flowerpot on the spot.

Suspects in the disappearance include the city itself, which may have simply taken the old bench away for repairs, as well as neighbors unhappy with extra tourist traffic, vandals or even fans wanting to own a small piece of film history.

"It's a bit embarrassing, because we do keep good track of them, but it's gone all right," said city spokesman Stephan van der Hoek.

He said Tuesday the bench will be replaced within weeks, depending on whether the city's works department has a replacement in stock. He said fans of the movie visiting Amsterdam had begun asking where the bench was — perhaps because maps of significant sites from its 2013 filming have begun to circulate.

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Another site of interest is the Anne Frank House museum. Contrary to the impressions of some filmgoers, scenes that appear to occur in the museum were actually shot on a stage set. Visitors to the museum can't enter the attic, where the stars also kiss. "We do get visitors asking about the film," said spokeswoman Annemarie Bekker.

The big-screen adaptation of the John Green novel features Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell and Willem Dafoe. Released in early June, the romantic drama has grossed more than $195 million worldwide.

Woodley previously said that she found filming on location in Amsterdam romantic because of the unexpected fog, and Elgort called it "a magical experience." Green, who wrote part of the book in Amsterdam, told THR that he chose the Anne Frank House museum because "Anne Frank is another person who died young due to circumstances that were well outside of her control, and also because it has become this place of silent reverence people are hushed in that museum.... For Hazel and Gus, it's a very different place, because it's a place where a person was alive."

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City spokesman Van der Hoek said that his best guess is that neighbors chipped in to buy the flowerpot — a frequent occurrence in Amsterdam. But he figures the bench itself was probably taken away intentionally, as there are no marks on the ground suggesting it was violently wrenched from its spot.

"Keep your eyes on eBay," he quipped.

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