Four local authorities on the Dutch coast have united to host an unusual celebration this summer. The ‘Pollution Art Festival’ includes pieces made from plastic waste, as well as other items discarded in the North Sea.
The municipalities of Zandvoort, Velsen, Beverwijk and Heemskerk hope to shine a light on the problem of marine pollution. They also hope the works will attract visitors to the area.
Five local artists have created eight installations as part of the project.
With many people in Europe expected to enjoy a ‘staycation’ closer to home this summer, organisers are describing the festival as a ‘must see’ event.
Councillors from the KIMO municipalities of Beverwijk, Heemskerk, Velsen and Zandvoort unveiled the art works in June.
The artists want to draw attention to worldwide environmental problems. The works references issues like plastic in the ocean, smog in China, large mountains of waste and oil spills.
Aad Schoorl, an Alderman from Heemskerk said:
“It is really important that we draw attention to the environment in different ways. Of course, you can always point fingers, but we have found a much nicer manner with this combination of art and awareness raising.”
Children help out
Forty local school classes helped to create some of the artworks. They followed a series of lessons on beach combing and the ‘plastic soup’ and visited beaches to collect litter.
Annelies Kwaak from Stuido O made an art work with fish nets containing some of the items the children collected. It is inspired by the Shimenawa, a traditional Japanese decoration that is hung to offer protection at a holy or ‘pure’ location.
Hanneke Niele, Alderman in Beverwijk said:
“The pollution art objects along the beaches, often made by artists working together with students at primary schools, help draw visitors’ attention to the importance of clean beaches and seas.”
Up cycling – along the route!
Organisers say that the best way to view the coast and the artworks is by bike.
This means that locals and visitors to the area can follow a route to take in the works while staying active.
But the municipalities of Zandvoort, Velsen, Beverwijk and Heemskerk are not the only ones getting creative with marine litter along the Dutch coast.
There are many initiatives that use washed-up material for artworks and raise awareness about what we can all do for cleaner seas.
The LF1 North Sea route cycle path connects Den Helder in the north with Flanders in the south.
The route offers cycle tourists the opportunity to enjoy all of these art works – and everything else the Dutch coast has to offer!
You can learn more about the festival on the event’s Facebook page.
Beverwijk, Heemskerk, Velsen, Zandvoort, Vlieland, Castricum, Bergen and Den Helder are all members of KIMO Netherlands and Belgium. KIMO NL-BE is one of the national member associations of KIMO International.
A version of this article was originally published in Dutch by KIMO Netherlands and Belgium.