Tulip, by Innovatieplatform 1

North Sea Polder in the form of a tulip (Copyright RTL)
North Sea Polder shaped like a tulip (Copyright Innovatieplatform)

Yesterday a drawing of a 100 kilometer (!) long island in the form of a tulip, projected before the coast of the Netherlands, hit national television and newspapers. The drawing seems to have first appeared on RTL News, but later reappeared in NRC Handelsblad, and was passed through to the Dutch Google News. After some searching the origin of the image was determined; the so-called Innovatieplatform (Innovation Platform, IP) of the Dutch Government.

Some readers of Eikongraphia might remember that I proposed in spring this year an agglomeration of islands, also in the form of a tulip. That design though was much smaller and not situated in the North Sea, but in the ‘IJ’ lake near Amsterdam. Curious isn’t it?

To name the obvious: How does such a thing happen? Is it just logical to draw a giant tulip in Holland, when Dubai builds ‘palms’? I would think so: the tulip is virtuous national icon. Or does the editorial team of RTL News read the political magazine ‘Driemaster’ where I published the design in the first place? I suppose it will remain a mystery.

The drawing of the 100-kilometer tulip-island has been made as an illustration of the idea to make a new polder in the North Sea. This week the Dutch Parliament voted in favor of a proposal for a feasibility study. The study will answer where such a polder could be located, what it would cost, and what it would mean ecologically.

Ideas for such a land-reclamation have surfaced in the past. West 8 has proposed a mega-dune, which proved too expensive. And OMA has worked on an airport island to relocate Schiphol Airport, which also proved too expensive. But with the rapidly rising land value in the Netherlands, making new land could become soon be profitable.

The arguments for such a polder are:

  • There is a need in the future for 50.000 to 100.000 hectares of land for agriculture and recreation, and maybe for houses, and business.
  • A new polder for the Dutch coast will help to protect the country from the sea, it will brake the waves of the strong current that comes from the canal to the north.
  • Dutch companies successfully reclaim land in Dubai and Singapore; why not do it here too?

Indeed, several friends of me work or have worked on the palms in Dubai. But is that a good reason to want it here too? On the other hand: It would be a tremendously cool project!

Before we get all too excited there are off course arguments against a new polder in the North Sea. They include ecological concerns, the question if it would not interfere with gas- and oil interests and the heavy ship-traffic. And additionally there is the question if it is acceptable to spoil (a part) of the current coast.

Strange about the plan is that initiator Joop Atsma suggests that if the new polder could answer the demand for agriculture and leisure, there would be more space around the current inhabited areas for housing and business. But; will people accept that their green surroundings are being urbanized? I am afraid people are too much in love with the status quo to do so. The time that ‘progress’ was an argument is over. These are conservative times. So I would argue for the urbanization of the new polder. Build a new city.

Hundred islands in the form of a tulip (Image: Eikongraphia)
Hundred islands in the IJmeer forming a tulip (Image: Eikongraphia)

A side note: The first drawing of the Trump Hotel on the trunk of Palm Jumeirah in Dubai showed a building shaped like a… tulip. Sort of. Later W.S. Atkins redesigned the tower into a razor-sharp arch. The monorail runs through it. Nice one!

First design of the Trump Tower, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
First design for the Trump Hotel, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

W.S. Atkins - Trump Hotel, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
W.S. Atkins - Trump Hotel, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai (Copyright W.S. Atkins) (click-2-enlarge)

W.S. Atkins - Trump Hotel, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
W.S. Atkins - Trump Hotel, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai (Copyright W.S. Atkins)

Next: Tulip, by Innovatieplatform 2 

The project is added to the Architects, Representation and Top 10 pages.

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