Daan Roosegaarde's bike path follows Van Gogh's route
Take a look at another incredibly cool Daan Roosegarde project from our new book with the Dutch genius
Is there anything more Dutch than cycling? How about cycling along an ecologically sound, public cycle path that is named after and mimics a famous painting by one of the country’s best-loved artists? That’s precisely the kind of experience travellers in suburban Eindhoven can now enjoy, thanks to Daan Roosegaarde.
This young, Dutch contemporary artist aim to improve our lives, often by rethinking processes and upgrading urban structures. In the past he and his team of technicians and engineers have turned air pollution into jewellery; tracked space junk with lasers; and used LEDs to simulate rising water levels. His 2012-15 project Van Gogh Path was, in comparison, a little bit more low tech, but no less progressive.
“This project was designed for the cycle road connecting Nuenen, a town where Van Gogh lived from 1883 to 1885, and Eindhoven,” explains the curator and art historian Fumio Nanjo in our new Daan Roosegaarde book. “It aims to make the cycle road both safer and more fun by placing on its surface numerous small stones covered with phosphorescent coating. These are laid down in a pattern reminiscent of ripples of light as an homage to Van Gogh’s famous painting The Starry Night.”
“Such references to art history point to a new way in which technology can inherit and develop traditions and history,” Nanjo explains. “Moreover, this kind of work, both beautiful and practical, contributes to the Netherlands’ urban landscape.
Indeed, while the illuminated section of the path is only around a kilometre long, the artist believes the work has a wider influence.
“The Van Gogh Path [alongside other works] inspired the Dutch minister of infrastructure to change government policy,” he writes in our new book. “The goal is that by 2030, the main highways in the Netherlands will have to be energy neutral. And that’s one of the biggest aims for me: that we shouldn’t just say that government should invest in creativity, but also that the design industry and the art world can inspire government to set a new standard of life, instead of just looking at it as a one-off.
“I want to have a conversation with my grandchildren in the future where they ask ‘Grandpa, what did you do when you were young?’, and I tell them: ‘We made these huge smog vacuum cleaners in China, which suck-up pollution.’ And my grandchildren will ask: ‘What’s pollution?’ So all my work will be completely meaningless to them! But until then, there’s still a lot of work to be done.”
To find out more about this incredibly ambitious artist, order a copy of our new Daan Roosegaarde book here.