Highlights of Stavoren
The medieval legend about the Lady of Stavoren is symbolic for the mysterious decline of the city of Stavoren after a rich and wealthy past. Nowadays, water sports generate the main income. Especially during the summer, since Stavoren is one of the main routes from the Ijsselmeer to the lakes of Friesland.
The fishing industry is engraved in the cultural identity of Stavoren, and it’s this history which forms the basis of American artist Mark Dion’s ‘Fish Fountain for Stavoren’. While researching the city, he found a pen-and-ink drawing dating from 1556, when Stavoren was a flourishing seaport. And so, the strange beauty and power of that drawing, ‘Big Fish Eat Little Fish’ by Peter Bruegel the Elder, becomes Dion’s contemporary monument: an enormous fish head rising from the basin, its open mouth swallowing up curious visitors who choose to explore it. Encouraging interaction, it’s playful, but hints at something more serious: the sense of having lost a miracle that was once part of the seafaring life. The work was created as part of the Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018 cultural program’s 11Fountains, in which a fountain was created for each of Friesland’s 11 cities.