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Veerle
van Herk

Nordsjøen Dike

Project details

Year
2020
Programme
Illustration
Practices
Social
Minor
Honours /Visual Culture

It is June 2020. The Netherlands is about to embark on the world’s largest construction project of all time: a 600 km dyke between Norway and Scotland and England and France that will protect us from rising sea levels. Now that climate policy has failed, this is the remaining solution.

Nominee Bachelor Research Award & Drempelprijs Social Practices

Film still, scene 1

In February 2020 the Dutch Oceanographer Sjoerd Groeskamp published his plan for the so-called “Northern European Enclosure Dam” (NEED) in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, a leading scientific journal. This 600 km long dike, that encloses the North Sea may protect our small country from the rising sea levels. According to Groeskamp, this largest engineering project ever is a ‘realistic final solution’ for if our climate mitigation fails.

For Veerle van Herk, this plan formed the ultimate symbol of the engineerable world we live in. How far may we shape the earth in our fight against climate change? This is how the idea arose for the short film ‘Nordsjøen dike’ (Norwegian for North Sea Dam).
What if the Netherlands really starts building this dike? What if the North Sea becomes a lake? By mixing fact and fiction, Veerle creates possible future scenarios. Through the eyes of a Norwegian storyteller, we see how the Netherlands starts with an immense project.

We are as Gods and might as well get good at it.”

Stewart Brand
Sketch for scenario 3
Sketch for scenario 5
Sketch for scenario 7

What if the North Sea becomes a lake?
By mixing fact and fiction, Veerle creates possible future scenarios. Through the eyes of a Norwegian storyteller, we see how the Netherlands starts with an immense project.

Film Still, scene 5

With her strongly framed and absurdist observations, Veerle tries to open the important conversation about the future of the Netherlands in relation to sea-level rise. Are we looking at a sincere plan B?
Or have we reached the limits of constructability?

“Where rising temperatures and rising sea levels remain abstract, we need imagination to envision our future. It is important that we start to communicate more about this topic to start the conversation. Because only if we can imagine it can we change it.”

Scenario, Direction and Production Design – Veerle van Herk
Production – Geertje Kil
Artdirection – Denice Zwiers
DOP – Thomas de Boer
2nd DOP – Toto Kersten
Gaffer – Jaap Beyleveld

Production assisstent – Jochem van Schip
Set assistent – Eva Mirre Dam
Graphic Design – Jim Jansen
Music- Joshua Aaron
Sound Design – Nils Davidse
Grading – Tom Lems

Due to Covid-19 it was not possible to shoot the whole film yet.
Stay tuned and follow this project at Voordekunst.

Click here to read the Research publication (only in Dutch)