Sense of Place


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Sense of Place is a voyage of discovery in land art and land architecture in which the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea region and its landscape take the starring role. From May to September 2018, as part of Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018 and the European Capital of Culture program, this collection of ambitious projects will take visitors on a journey back to nature, to a place where man-made dykes, meadows and forests coexist in harmony with the sea, dunes and beaches.

  • Don’t miss the chance to see innovations in land art and architecture during Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018.
  • Head to the otherworldly island of Terschelling, as its landscapes are transformed into stages for drama, street theatre, art and music during the Oerol Festival.
  • Step out into the environment and be a part of one of the most ambitious projects of Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018, European Capital of Culture.

Art and experimentation in Friesland’s unique landscape

Every summer, 50,000 visitors head to the beaches and dunes of the island of Terschelling, as the Oerol international theatre festival transforms its otherworldly landscapes into a stage for drama, street theatre, art and music. In 2018, the founders of this cultural extravaganza widen their ambition even further. Sense of Place will see artists, landscape architects, biologists, and water and forestry organizations collaborate in unprecedented ways to demonstrate how landscapes develop and how they have developed. In this pastoral laboratory, unexpected combinations and untamed ideas will result in innovation and a shared experience that helps promote diversity and change.

Creating a legacy for Friesland and the Frisian community

For five months in 2018, the Wadden Sea region’s unique landscape will come to the fore as art and the natural environment meet and merge in surprising forms and ideas. Whether it’s a dyke in the form of a naked woman, a mobile heliostat moving across the landscape, or a coiled pavilion stretching out into the sea, visitors to Sense of Place’s wonders will see the region’s remarkable environment from new and surprising perspectives. It’s the perfect way to reflect on the natural, social and economic processes that have helped shape the land and communities of Friesland. After 2018, Sense of Place will evolve into a permanent land art exhibition, continuing to attract new visitors to the region, and acting as a catalyst for creating new communities across borders and between worlds that have not yet met.

Sense of Place projects in the Wadden Area

Sense of Place invites Friesland’s unique landscape to be both the stage and the star. This concept forces the visitor to see nature in new ways, as Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018’s collaborative events brilliantly explore the interplay of people and the planet.

For example, one highlight is ‘Camera Batavia’, a camera obscura built on a tower erected on the sands of the Wadden region’s striking dunes and coastline. It offers visitors a new outlook on the landscape, tides and sunlight as they look out in all directions through a convex mirror.

Another startling work which challenges people’s perceptions of the land and its uses is artist Nienke Brokke’s ‘Dijk van een Wijf’, a huge sculpture of a reclining female nude, formed from the earth and green grasses of the dyke near the Frisian village of Holwerd. This organic monument – around 20 meters high at the hips and shoulders – forms a barrier between the land and the sea, becoming a patron for Friesland, sheltering the nursing grounds of seed, soil and people from the sea.

Elsewhere, marshes will be reshaped as a Mondrian painting, and a new tide pool will connect the sea wall with an Escher-like pavilion that sits just above the high tide line.

Spend the night in Friesland

Visit the Wadden Sea region to revitalize and be surprised during Leeuwarden-Friesland 2018 and the Sense of Place projects. Find the perfect place to stay in Friesland’s towns and cities, or on the windswept Wadden Islands of Ameland and Terschelling.

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Sense of Place

Accommodations in Friesland

Book a vacation in Friesland and enjoy the landscape, the water and the authentic villages.

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Watch this video: Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2018