The Netherlands: Artist Designs Steps for Recreational Beach

Three access points to the new recreational beach at Maasvlakte 2 will have steps designed by Jan Konings. The Rotterdam artist came up with the idea of a 9-metre wide set of steps that serves various functions and, due to its minimalist yet playful form, fits in well with the dunes. The design by Jan Konings was chosen from four proposals.

The steps by Jan Konings have treads of 20, 40 and 80 cm merging into each other. This means that they are not only useful for crossing the dunes, but also as seating elements, for getting the sand from between your toes, waiting for the others in your party, for picnics or for simply sitting out of the wind. The 9-metre wide sets of steps will be made in sandy-coloured concrete that harmonises well with the dunes and the car park. On top of the dunes, there will also be a 9-metre wide walkway, from where a narrower set of steps will descend to the beach. The beach accesses must be completed in the spring of 2012. That is when the recreational beach is due to open to the public.

Jan Konings took inspiration for his design from, among other things, the monumental steps in Odessa that feature in Eisenstein’s famous 1925 film ‘Battleship Potemkin’, and the pyramids of Egypt, where tourists often climb on the lowest rows of stones.

This functional artwork was selected from four designs, which the Port of Rotterdam Authority commissioned from different artists. For the creation of the recreational beach at Maasvlakte 2, the Port Authority was looking for a work of art that would make the place special but also have a functional use. According to the Port Authority and SKOR (Foundation for Art and Public Space), this design does just that.

The Port Authority and SKOR are organising an art programme in connection with the construction of Maasvlakte 2, in which artists are asked to propose artworks on various themes. 2009 was a pilot year for this art programme, bearing the title Portscapes. Between 2011 and the time that the first section of Maasvlakte 2 becomes operational in 2013, about five different art projects will be executed, under the heading Portscapes 2.


Source: maasvlakte2, May 12, 2011;



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