Video: Light artist Roosegaarde’s €13-million installation illuminates Dutch dike

The Afsluitdijk illuminated by Daan Roosergaarde's Gates of Light installation
The Afsluitdijk illuminated by Daan Roosergaarde's Gates of Light installation. (Photo: Studio Roosergaarde)

Working with a 13 million euro budget provided by the Dutch government, Studio Roosergaarde of light artist Daan Roosegaarde turned the 32 kilometer long iconic Afsluitdijk into a beautiful and sustainable art installation with three separate projects - Gates of Light, Windvogel and Glowing Nature. Together the projects aim to enhance the innovative character of the dike, while highlighting it as an "exemplary model of a smart landscape for today and tomorrow", according to the studio.

Gates of Light illuminates the historical architecture of the dike that connects Friesland to Noord-Holland without using any energy. The 60 monumental floodlights installed on the dike in 1932 were fully restored and augmented with a retro-reflective layer. In the dark, the headlights of passing cars light up these structures, by reflecting the cars' lights through small prisms. If there are no cars on the road, the structure remains dark - thereby not contributing to light pollution. 

Windvogel consists of energy generating kites that float and move around in the air, connected with a specially designed cable to a ground station. The push and pull of the cable transforms the movement of the kits into energy. The kites can potentially generate up to 100 kW of energy, enough to supply around 200 homes. Windvogel is a tribute to Dutch astronaut Wubbo Ockels. "Whilst flying, Roosegaarde’s Windvogel creates a visual symphony of dancing lines to celebrate the beauty and poetry of green energy."

Glowing Nature is a "unique encounter between man, biology and technology", according to Studio Roosergaarde. This project consists of live bioluminescent algae installed at the Friesland bunker on the Afsluitdijk. The algae lights up when you step on it. 

All three projects can currently be seen on the Afsluitdijk by night. Gates of Light and Windvoghel can be viewed from your car. Windvogel and Glowing Nature will be installed until January 21st.