Seven Points of the Compass


Not alone in this immensity.

An object floats on the tide at the Noordsvaarder. A meeting place at the centre of seven illuminated points of the compass. Observers find themselves at the centre point of a large entity, an installation that occupies the landscape out as far as the horizon. Drawing with the Sun, using the power of the Moon. With each passing hour and day the installation will reveal a different aspect of the landscape, the sand flats.


Over the course of history structures have been erected in different parts of the world in order to observe and celebrate the moment when the sun stands still. On 21 June each year there is a transition from Spring to Summer. These locations eventually became observatories or ritual sites. People still come together at sites around the globe to observe this phenomenon, regardless of age, origin, race or religion. How we relate to the larger whole is something that continues to mystify us. What are we doing among all these stars? This project was born out of a fascination with these solstice gatherings. These observations of the phenomenon and these gatherings make us aware that what we do on this planet must be done with other people. Our common amazement binds us together.

Zeven Streken (Seven Points of the Compass) is a meeting place at the centre of seven alignments along different points of the compass, illuminated by the sun.


A heliostat is an instrument which reflects the sun to a specific point with the aid of a mirror. “Helio” means “sun” and “stat” means “static”: stationary sun. The device was probably invented by the Dutchman Willem Jacob ‘s-Gravenzande, who used it to study the sun. In the 17th century the device would be driven by clockwork, nowadays we use computer-controlled motors. Heliostats are commonly used to generate energy in solar power stations. The mirrors used in this project are up to 2 km distant. Seven of them, with the installation at the centre, making the landscape part of the total work.

The compass rose

We are most familiar with the four cardinal points shown on the compass rose, North, South, East and West. But there are in total 32 points of the compass, which are all identified in the installation. Seven of these are illuminated by the sun.


The form and function of the installation draws on the breadth and openness of the Wadden landscape. Anything placed here is lost in the void, the horizon is the determinant. And now an object is placed right on that horizon, its form changing with the tide. The almost imperceptible change takes place twice each day. The visitor’s gaze is directed outwards during the ebb tide, while during the flood tide the gaze is outward, towards the water.


In the context of “Leeuwarden 2018” and “Sense of place” the Zeven Streken installation has been designed to travel through the Wadden over the coming four years. At each location a connection will be sought between the sandflats, the sun, the horizon with the illuminated points of the compass and the tide.

A permanent Solstice installation is a goal for the future. Once each year on 21 June a small fixed mirror spread across the landscape will make the connection visible from a single specific point, generating an annual gathering.

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