Paul de Kort: PIER+HORIZON (2016)

Paul de Kort, PIER+HORIZON (2016). Foto: Paul de Kort
Paul de Kort, PIER+HORIZON (2016). Foto: Paul de Kort

Ambassador Eva Vriend
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Before the Noordoostpolder was reclaimed, a 6 kilometer long dam was located on the exact same spot as the artwork in the water of the former Zuiderzee (now Zwarte Meer). This dam connected the lighthouse Old Kraggenburg with the main land at Genemuiden. The original position of the dam is still visible from the air in the allotment pattern of the Noordoostpolder. Paul de Kort has restored a small part of this dam by featuring it as the central axis of his artwork. The concrete bicycle path is aligned with the pier, strengthening the connection of the artwork with Old Kraggenburg.

Several 20 meter long ‘kraggen’ - strips of intertwined floating water plants - float around the axis of PIER+HORIZON. Attached on one side to a pole, the kraggen function as a sort of weathervanes: when the wind and current are strong, the kraggen all point in the same direction. The poles have been placed in the Zwarte Meer according to a strict hexagonal grid. This grid is a reference to the Central Place theory on which architect and urban planner Cornelis van Eesteren based his plans for the Noordoostpolder. The title of this artwork pays tribute to Piet Mondriaan and his series of paintings Pier and Ocean (1915).

Every morning, when the sun is perfectly aligned with the dam and the webcam, a photo is taken. Gradually, a series of photos is formed that will visualize the artwork in a completely different time dimension. This series of photos can be found at

Documentary maker Barend Hazeleger has been following Paul de Kort for a while and has created a documentary on the creation of the artwork. See his short preview:


PIER+HORIZON is made possible by the Province of Flevoland, Noordoostpolder municipality, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Waterschap Zuiderzeeland, Bouwfonds Cultuurfonds.

Ambassador Eva Vriend

Eva Vriend. Foto: Rogier Velman
Eva Vriend. Foto: Rogier Velman

Eva Vriend wrote the book Het nieuwe land about the history of the development of Flevoland. She met Paul de Kort at a lecture where she found out they share a passion for the story of the Noordoostpolder.

“I have given quite some lectures about my book. At one of these lectures I met Paul de Kort. He was then still working on a proposal for a seventh land art work in Flevoland. Paul told me he was considering a specific place in the Noordoostpolder at the Zwarte Meer to realize his work. I know that place very well. I used to go there for a walk along the dike. This place is truly a pearl in the polder. If you’re standing there, also in his words, you’re able to see the horizon everywhere: of the old land and of the new land. Soon his work will arise there.

He further researched the polder for his proposal and read, among other things, my book. It’s fun to see how someone who’s himself not from the polder, nonetheless gets so much from the landscape. Personally I’m mainly concerned with the history of the polder: with the experience of its residents and the human side of the story. Landscape-wise I’m not an expert, except that I grew up as a farmer’s daughter. Paul is mainly interested in the physical side of the landscape and its manipulability. Thus, although we are interested in the same thematic, we are engaged with the polder in very different ways. That’s what I really like about it. Since then we stayed in contact.

PIER+HORIZON is also a very nice study. For example what I found enthralling is how Paul incorporates the wind in his design. I grew up in the polder and I still have a love-hate relationship with the wind. The east wind and the west wind, you can always feel the wind here. When the work is realized and the reeds will have grown, you’ll see a sort of giant vane floating on this lake. You will also be able to talk about it when you’re there: to state where the wind comes from, to share if it’s an eddy or an east wind. His work is not there yet, but when it’s realized you can actually go there, show it to others and talk about it.

One of my secret missions is to ensure that PIER+HORIZON will be a success and that the people who live here will somehow engage with the work. It would be wonderful to organise events around the work, like a poetry evening or a nice kind of festival. Something like that would be fantastic at this place. Personally I think it would also be fun to organise a sort of ‘write now’ meeting for writers. It’s a great place to sit together for an hour, to write and then to share what has been written. You could also paint landscapes or do something with photography. When the seventh land art work is there, it would be great if people initiate events around the work.”

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Paul de Kort, PIER+HORIZON (2016). Photo Gert Schutte
Paul de Kort, PIER+HORIZON (2016). Photo Gert Schutte

The Flevoland Land Art Collection is expanded with a seventh landscape artwork: Pier+Horizon by Paul de Kort. The artwork is situated in the Zwarte Meer, the lake that separates the Noordoostpolder from the land at Overijssel, a wide landscape with an always-present horizon.

Over a century before the Noordoostpolder was drained, a 6-km-long dam, the 'Zuiderkrib', connected the shore at Overijssel with a lighthouse keeper's house in the middle of the Zuiderzee. The former lighthouse keeper's house 'Oud Kraggenburg', now a national monument, is presently situated on a mound amidst the fields of the Noordoostpolder. A perfectly straight and almost one kilometer long concrete road connects the Zwartemeerweg with the Zwartemeerdijk and reminds us of the line of the former Zuiderkrib. The stone breakwater itself has largely disappeared under the waves of the Zwarte Meer, but in calm weather, we can see part of the Zuiderkrib surfacing in the Zwarte Meer a few hundred meters further down the concrete road.

For the construction of the foundations of the Zuiderkrib and the lighthouse keeper's house, which occurred in the middle of the 19th century, the use of traditional willow sinking mats was abandoned in favor of so-called kraggen. Kraggen are clusters of grown-together aquatic plants, especially reeds, that float like islands on the water. Kraggen are quite common in the peat bogs of north Overijssel. These kraggen were cut into long strips and dragged to the Zuiderzee to be weighted with rubble and sunk down.

With Pier+Horizon, Paul de Kort aims to bring the former Zuiderkrib to the surface again. He does this by placing a 135 meter-long decking jetty at the end of the concrete path in the Zwartemeer. In an area with a diameter of more than 250 meters around the extreme tip of the pier, 36 posts are placed in a strict pattern. 15 kraggen, each measuring 20 by 2 meters and planted with reeds, float on the water. Each krag is anchored on its short side to one of the posts and can, driven by wind and currents, freely rotate around the anchoring point.

During the walk over the straight concrete road from the Zwartemeerweg, the Zwartemeerdijk blocks the view of the Zwarte Meer until the very last moment, but once one arrives on top of the dike, the endless expanse of the Zwarte Meer fully reveals itself. At the foot of the dike, the straight line of the pier extends far into the Zwarte Meer. The field of poles and kraggen stretches as far as the eye can see. During a long walk on the Zwartemeerdijk from the Kadoelersluis, the artwork is already visible from afar and gradually reveals itself as the walk progresses. The remote location and effort required to reach the artwork add to the experience, which reaches its height when one is standing alone on the farthermost tip of the narrow, long pier, in the wide expanse of the Zwarte Meer, surrounded by a field of poles and kraggen.

Every morning, from the Zwartemeerdijk, a webcam takes a picture of the very moment the sun in the east lines up exactly with the pier and the camera. Over the year, this will create a picture sequence in which the seasons can be seen slowly gliding into each other. Meanwhile, the kraggen sway restlessly around their anchor points, driven by the ever-changing wind, the sunlight twinkles on the waves around the pier, the weather changes from overcast to sunny or hazy, a hard southwestern or chilly eastern wind force the kraggen into a strict line or a fierce rain thrashes the waters of the Zwarte Meer. The sun climbs in a straight line slowly to its highest point on June 21, then descends along that same line to disappear behind the horizon around the end of October; a year in a day.

See for the photo's

Text: Paul de Kort Translation: Michael Meert

Land Art Weekend October 8th & 9th

Kunstenaar Paul de Kort, ambassadeur Eva Vriend en voorzitter van Natuurmonumenten Hans Wijers openen het kunstwerk met kinderen van de Fladderiep. Foto: Geert van der Wijk
Kunstenaar Paul de Kort, ambassadeur Eva Vriend en voorzitter van Natuurmonumenten Hans Wijers openen het kunstwerk met kinderen van de Fladderiep. Foto: Geert van der Wijk

On October 7th, 2016, a seventh artwork was added to the unique collection of Land Art in Flevoland: PIER+HORIZON by artist Paul de Kort. In honor of this occasion, all the Land Art projects became part of the festivities in the weekend of 8 and 9 October. Visitors to the Land Art projects received information on-site by a professional guide. Kids enjoyed special activities. On Sunday, Paul de Kort gave an introduction to his artwork, after which theater group Prins te Paard gave a spectaculair performance for the official opening.

See Facebook for photos of this weekend.

Thanks to: Rob Vrijen (information tents on-site), Warmonderhof (biological agriculture education from Dronten, shops featuring land products), familie Van Beekhuizen (reception in Kraggenburg), Marijke Jansen, Carolien Wendte, Nynke Deinema, Iona Hogendoorn, Caroline Lamens, Suzanne Mascini; Marie-Joseé Röselaers (information service), Yvonne Dubbers (production).

This Land Art Weekend was part of the activities organized during the Month of History.

The Land Art Weekend was organized in collaboration Toerisme Flevoland and was made possible by the Province of Flevoland.

Proefopstelling Pier + Horizon in Waterloopbos

Van het landschapskunstwerk Pier + Horizon van Paul de Kort is een proefopstelling gemaakt in het Waterloopbos, bij Marknesse in de Noordoostpolder. In dit bos werden tot 1996 schaalmodellen van grote waterwerken aangelegd om deze uit te testen, door ingenieurs van het Waterkundig Laboratorium. De schaalmodellen staan er nog, maar het gebied is inmiddels in eigendom van Natuurmonumenten.

In de proefopstelling worden de kraggen getest - drijvende wilgenmatten waarvan er uiteindelijk 48 in het kunstwerk terecht komen. De matten in het Waterloopbos zijn 2 x 2 meter, die in het kunstwerk krijgen een lengte van 24 meter. Met het grid waarin de matten geplaatst worden - en de titel - maakt Paul de Kort een eervolle verwijzing naar het beroemde schilderij 'Pier and Ocean 5' van Piet Mondriaan.

Bekijk hier een item op Omroep Flevoland waarin Paul de Kort over de proefopstelling vertelt.

In het vernieuwde Biesbosch MuseumEiland is nog t/m 31 december 2015 een overzichtstentoonstelling te zien van het werk van Paul de Kort.

Paul de Kort bij Kunststof - Radio 1

Afgelopen woensdag werd Paul de Kort - maker van het zevende landschapskunstwerk in Flevoland - geïnterviewd door Frenk van der Linden voor het radioprogramma Kunststof.

Zijn ontwerp Pier + Horizon wordt gerealiseerd in de Noordoostpolder, bij Kraggenburg en zal naar verwachting najaar 2016 gereed zijn.

Luister het na op de website van NTR

Travelling exhibition on Pier + Horizon by Paul de Kort

On May 6th a small travelling exhibition on the seventh Land Art work in Flevoland will be opened at the town hall in Emmeloord. It shows the design and the realisation of Pier + Horizon by Paul de Kort, which will be located in the Zwarte Meer near Kraggenburg in the Noordoostpolder. If all goes according to plan the work will be delivered in the fall of 2016.

The exhibition will be on show in Emmeloord for six weeks and will travel to several locations in Flevoland after. More information here.