On 18 May, fountains located across the iconic eleven Frisian cities will sputter to life.
The Leeuwarder Courant reports that the fountains – except for the one in Dokkum – will be officially inaugurated at 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon. The Leeuwarden fountain – a boy and girl’s head facing each other with their eyes closed – will be the first fountain to be switched on and will mark the beginning of a chain reaction where each subsequent fountain is turned on every five minutes.
The artists who designed the fountains hail from the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Great Britain, Argentina, China, Japan, The United States, Cuba and France and will explain the inspiration for their creations in each town before the water is switched on.
|Bolsward: The Bat|
Created by Belgian artist Johan Creten, the inspiration for the bat fountain in Bolsward is the façade of the Broerekerk, much of which was destroyed in a fire.
Created by Spanish artists Jaume Plensa, “Love” was inspired by the dewy fields of Friesland: the young faces will be surrounded by a cloud of mist.
Created by British and Argentinian artists Lucy and Jorge Orta, this fountain consists of a child holding the local – and endangered – peewit bird in her hands. The child is standing on an adult’s shoulders, and the adult stands on a pile of buckets and pails.
|Hindeloopen: Flora & Fauna|
Created by Chinese artist Shen Yuan, the fountain is inspired by the heraldic crest of the city: the Tree of Life, a stag and a hind.
|IJlst: Immortal Flowers – Rikka|
Created by Japanese artist Shinji Ohmaki, “Immortal Flowers” depicts the intersection of Frisian nature with the Japanese art form of flower arrangement.
|Workum: The Rampant Lions of Workum|
Created by British artist Cornelia Parker, this fountain depicts the two lions on the city’s heraldic crest.
|Harlingen: The Whale|
Created by American artist Jennifer Allora and Cuban artist Guillermo Calzadilla, the Harlingen fountain is a lifelike spermwhale spouting water from his blowhole, recalling the harbor city’s sea-faring history.
|Stavoren: The Fish Fountain for Stavoren|
Created by American artist Mark Dion, the fish fountain is a reference to a print by Pieter Bruegel the Elder and alludes to the city’s historic fisheries and its love-hate relationship with water.
|Franeker: The Oort Cloud Fountain|
Created by French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel, this fountain honors the discovery made by astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort: the Oort cloud, a cloud of icy objects at the outer egde of the solar system.
|Dokkum: The Ice Fountain|
Created by Dutch artist Birthe Leemeijer, the Dokkum fountain refers to the city’s status as one of the Eleven Cities in the beloved Elfstedentocht through Friesland. The fountain is inspired by natural ice formations created on the water during winter.
|Sneek: Fortuna’s Fountain|
Created by German artist Stephan Balkenhol, the Sneek fountain evokes the city’s history of alternating between periods of great wealth and decline.
Photo source: 11fountains