Aardzee (1982), Piet Slegers. Photo: Jordi Huisman

Aardzee (1982)

Piet Slegers

With its five hectares, roughly as large as the surrounding plots of farmland, Aardzee (Earth Sea) is one of the biggest artworks in the Netherlands. The artwork can be accessed by means of two footbridges. Sheltered by the gently sloping embank- ments that spread across the landscape like rolling waves, there are paths covered in blue-grey shells_ a reference to the sky and surrounding water. The trees, seemingly planted at random, emphasize the sense of shelter.

Aardzee feels like an oasis of tranquillity in the open polder. It lies amidst the flat fields like a frozen movement of the seabed. The water surface of the pond is the only horizontal surface amidst the sloping surroundings. Slegers’ landscape artwork refers to the transformation of the wild Zuiderzee into the serene polder landscape and the dialogue between the elements of earth and water.