Dutch Inventions: StrandBeests and the Windmill

Theo Jansen’s BMW commercial

The Dutch are widely innovative people and it is so wonder; they have to come up with creative solutions to keep their country from flooding! You see, the big drained swampy nest they call home, the Netherlands, is sinking lower and lower. It is currently below sea level and the drainage systems, windmill powered-Archimedes screws, litter the coast line. I’ve been to the place, it is the mecca for architects, city planners, and fashionistas. Their ability to transform the peat bog into productive land has paid off handsomely. But the dark side is that they are dependent on artificial draining means. They live on man-made island and the threat of tidal waves could result in grave consequences as it already has in the not so distant past. Theo Jansen is an engineer/artist and has come up with a beautiful creature that reminds me of the complexity of the windmill and the movements of living creatures. He hopes to use them to battle the tide, how, I’m not sure yet. All I know, is that his Strandbeests are so complex and delightful they send shivers down my spine. Here’s to being creative to survive!

Dutch windmill schematic:

Dutch Windmill are used to convert wind energy to transport water against gravity.