Fort Vijfhuizen

November 2015
LUST, Jan de Graaf / Robert Schutte, DoepelStrijkers
Assigned by
Fort Vijfhuizen

In 2016, the Fortifications of Amsterdam celebrate the 20-year anniversary as a UNESCO world heritage site. The Fortifications of Amsterdam were built in the late 19th century as the hard evidence of Dutch ‘neutrality’. However, still during construction, the balance of power on the world stage shifted. Also the martial practice itself changed; then for the first time the skies became battlefields. Finally realized, the Fortifications proved powerless. The mid-1990s rediscovered the Fortifications, then as a symbol of Dutch hydraulic ingenuity.

For the Fort bij Vijfhuizen, LUST designed a small exhibition in a hallway, about the fort, as part of the fortification of Amsterdam (Stelling van Amsterdam), but also about all kind of borders and routes dealing with the landscape of war, in the Netherlands, (Fortress) Europe and the rest of the world. The only 13 meter long and 3 meter wide and high hallway is a curious intervention in the Fort, making the whole intrinisic function of the Fort redundant; it opens up a passage way for ‘the enemy’. This, together with the notion of the fortification being an already outdated concept upon completion, were starting points for the design.

We installed 18 mirrors of 1×2,5 meters that can turn on a central pivot in this tiny space, making the space at the same time claustofobic and open, connecting the inside and the outside with each other, disorienting. Each mirror is fully laser engraved with specially designed maps that tell stories on the landscape of war.

“Globalisation, which impacts heritage through processes such as increased migration, urbanisation, commodification, growth of tourism and the acceleration of communication, has to be reflected in a comprehensive approach to Heritage Studies.” From The Cottbus Declaration on Heritage Studies; the need for a holistic understanding of heritage ‘ (2012), at the 40th anniversary of the UNESCO Convention of 1972.

The Fort near Vijfhuizen, building block of the Fortifications of Amsterdam, World Heritage since 1996. Many people says that we should be proud of that title. National pride on a national tradition. But the revitalisation of national sentiment is not the raison d ‘être of world heritage. The international exchange of people, goods and ideas deals less and less with places and more and more with dis-place-ments. With ‘… increased migration, urbanisation, commodification, growth of tourism and the acceleration of communication … That colours the future world-value of world heritage.