Good Thinking

Waterlicht installation removes flood defenses and drowns Amsterdam in light

Waterlicht installation remove...
Studio Roosegaarde's Waterlicht installation has been on display in Amsterdam's Museumplein square
Studio Roosegaarde's Waterlicht installation has been on display in Amsterdam's Museumplein square
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Studio Roosegaarde's Waterlicht installation has been on display in Amsterdam's Museumplein square
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Studio Roosegaarde's Waterlicht installation has been on display in Amsterdam's Museumplein square
Waterlicht has been installed adjacent to the Rijksmuseum
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Waterlicht has been installed adjacent to the Rijksmuseum
Waterlicht uses LED lighting at a height of about 2 m (6.6 ft) to shine through artificial mist
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Waterlicht uses LED lighting at a height of about 2 m (6.6 ft) to shine through artificial mist
The blue-lit mist gives an eerie and every-changing effect
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The blue-lit mist gives an eerie and every-changing effect
Waterlicht creates water-like waves than change with the wind
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Waterlicht creates water-like waves than change with the wind
Waterlicht aims to show how parts of the Netherlands would look without waterworks
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Waterlicht aims to show how parts of the Netherlands would look without waterworks
The Museumplein square covers an area of about 8 acres (350,000 sq ft)
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The Museumplein square covers an area of about 8 acres (350,000 sq ft)
The installation uses LED lighting, lenses and software to create a visual effect
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The installation uses LED lighting, lenses and software to create a visual effect
Steam machines are used to produce a medium that captures the light
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Steam machines are used to produce a medium that captures the light
Waterlicht was originally commissioned by the Dutch Water Board
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Waterlicht was originally commissioned by the Dutch Water Board

A remarkable 26 percent of the Netherlands is below sea level. A series of dikes, dams and waterworks are used to keep the country from being submerged. But what would happen if those defenses weren't there? An installation by Studio Roosegaarde aims to show just that.

Studio Roosegaarde has perhaps been best known recently for its glow-in-the-dark highway and cycle path projects. Although the Waterlicht work is similarly compelling, it is one of the studio's more artistic projects.

Recently installed in Amsterdam's near 8-acre (350,000-sq ft) Museumplein square, Waterlicht used light to show what parts of the country would be like if there were no water defenses in place. Artist and studio founder Daan Roosegaarde says it's easy to take the defenses for granted.

"Waterlicht shows how the Netherlands would look without waterworks; a virtual flood," says Roosegaarde. "Innovation is seen throughout our landscape, pushed by the waterworks and our history, but yet we almost seem to have forgotten this."

Waterlicht was originally commissioned by the Dutch Water Board
Waterlicht was originally commissioned by the Dutch Water Board

The installation uses LED lighting, lenses and software to create a visual effect. Steam machines are used to produce a medium that captures the light. There are about seven LED lights at a height of about 2 m (6.6 ft) and the movement of these coupled with the movement of the steam creates a sense of waves and water. As the local weather changes, with the wind blowing the steam in different directions, so too does the artwork.

Waterlicht has been on display at the Museumplein from May 11-13. It was originally commissioned by the Dutch Water Board and was previously displayed in the flood channel of the River IJssel near Westervoort.

The video below shows the Waterlicht installation.

Source: Studio Roosegaarde

WATERLICHT by Daan Roosegaarde in Museumplein Amsterdam [OFFICIAL MOVIE]

2 comments
Andrew Fisher
I really want to like this or care about it in some way, but it's just sort of dumb. It feels like a low-budget, government commissioned art piece for some obscure department that is trying to stay relevant, but failing.
charizzardd
I think it is actually really cool but to me just more-so highlights that humans continue to build civilizations in really dumb places...