Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde has been commissioned to create three artworks to decorate the 32km Afsluitdijk causeway in the province of North Holland.
The causeway runs above a dike that was built by hand between 1927 and 1932, and which has now been renovated to become the largest pumping station in Europe.
There will be one permanent and two temporary installations. The permanent item, titled "Gates of Light", will be a "retroreflective guide rail" that lights up when hit by the headlights of passing cars.
"This unswerving, almost Zen-like line of reflected light, which enhances the straightness and design-icon status of the Afsluitdijk, creates a feeling of calm and safety," according to Roosegaarde. It will be completed next year.
The two temporary exhibits are:
- Windbird (pictured), being developed in collaboration with the Delft University of Technology. It follows the idea of creating energy-generating kites, suggested by the late Dutch physicist and astronaut Wubbo Ockels.
- Glowing nature (pictured), which consists of natural glowing algae cultivated to give more light and to live longer. Visitors can interact directly with the organism as the algae emits light when it moves.
Roosegaarde said: "The Dutch landscape has traditionally been a place for innovation. Our dikes symbolise the creativity power of the Netherlands when it comes to living with water. Now it is time for an update. It is an honour to work on this project."
Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Environment, said: "The Afsluitdijk stands for daring, action and innovative engineering.
"In this project, we are building on that tradition and, in terms of flood risk management, sustainability, and innovation. The Afsluitdijk will remain a legend today, tomorrow and in the distant future."
A total of $927m has been budgeted for the renovation of Afsluitdijk and $14.5m for the Icoon Afsluitdijk installations.
Images courtesy of Studio Roosegaarde