The Netherlands is ahead of the game when it comes to adapting to climate change. Rising sea levels due to melting polar ice could threaten major cities from London to Sydney–but the Dutch have been holding back the sea for centuries already. One of their most long-lived, and effective, technologies? Dikes: basically, just walls to hold back water.
“Dikes are as holy in the Netherlands as cows are in India,” says Dutch artist and designer Daan Roosegaarde. Take the 20-mile-long Afsluitdijk, a dike protecting much of the country from flooding. Built 85 years ago, a government program is now underway to renovate it–and as part of the project, Roosegaarde’s studio created a trio of public artworks that showcase the structure as an example of a “smart landscape.”
Each of the three projects combines a sustainable technology with considerable aesthetic appeal–a mixture of energy tech with art. Who says pondering the pre-apocalypse can’t be beautiful?
Christo has been draping landscapes in ghostly textures for decades, and the “Tribute in Light” 9/11 memorial proves the emotional power of piercing a black night sky with simple beams of light.
Roosegaarde’s Windvogel does both. It’s a set of kites attached to by glowing fiber optic cable to a ground station. The movement of the kites shakes the cable, which generates energy–enough to supply power to up to 200 Dutch homes, according to Roosegaarde. For everyone else, it makes for a dazzling natural light show while driving down the length of the Afsluitdijk. Read more