- The huge Dutch dyke, Afsluitdijk is celebrating its 85th anniversary
Knowing how to place the necessary infrastructures and the daily use of beauty is one of the great strengths of Dutch designer and innovator, Daan Roosegaarde. From the bike track that references Van Gogh's “Starry Night” in Nuenen to Beyond, the installation at Schiphol airport, from the Smog Free Project taken to China, which turns smog into jewellery to the Waterlicht, where light was used to simulate water in front of the Rijksmuseum, the works of Daan and the team from his Studio Roosegaarde fill you with emotions that are engendered by new ways of seeing and perceiving places.
This is also what happens with Icoon Afsluitsdijk. Three installations have been designed for the 32-km long dyke that has been protecting the Netherlands from the North Sea since 1932 and divides Zuidermeer from the now-closed Ijsselmeer. A motorway, a bike track and a pedestrian path pass along the dyke - or rather causeway - flanked on both sides by the sea. There are also two tidal barrier systems.
After 85 years of intensive use, it is now being renovated and reinforced and Daan Roosegaarde is helping to showcase the iconic value of the Afsluitsdijk through three different light installations that create a visually stunning show after sundown. Two of the installations - “Windvogel”, “smart” kites that generate energy, and “Glowing Nature”, that use bioluminescent algae - can be visited until 21 January 2018. Instead, “Gates of Light” is a permanent installation that brings the 60 monumental floodgates back to their former glory.
As Daan Roosegaarde explains: “The Afsluitdijk represents a part of Dutch daring and innovation. We live with water, we fight with water, and we endeavour a new harmony. The Afsluitdijk is the Madonna of our waterworks. By adding a subtle layer of light and interaction we enhance the beauty of the dyke and form new links between man and landscape, darkness and light, poetry and practice. To see the dyke as a 32-km kilometre Zen-line in the water is a unique experience that more people should see”.
So, a great excuse to take a trip to the Netherlands if you love major civil engineering infrastructures and light-filled land art!
Project: Daan Roosegaarde – Studio Roosegaarde - https://www.studioroosegaarde.net/
Location: Afsluitdijk, the Netherlands (between Den Oever and Zurich
Images: courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde
Find out more: http://icoonafsluitdijk.nl/