Dijkbalkons Lauwersoog

Dike Balconies Lauwersoog


Towards the end of 2015, Studio Melle Koot and MINT Architecten teamed up to design two ‘dike balconies’ in Lauwersoog. They were granted this opportunity after a selection was made from a pool of competing architects. The dike balconies are a part of the experience route Lauwersom. The balconies create a vivid connection between the ‘Wadden’ area and the sweet water Lauwers Lake, offering visitors a memorable experience at this unique location. From the first sketch, it was apparent the design should make a strong reference to the local fishery – an important part of the history and identity of Lauwersoog. During the design phase, we came across beautiful images of the eel fishery. We decided to enhance these images and integrate them in the design to reflect the importance of the fishery for this area. 

For the first balcony ‘The Fish Trap’, we explored the possibilities of realising huge structures with fishery nets, in collaboration with specialised fishery net manufacturers. This turned out to be quite a challenge! The main factors to consider were the experience for the visitor, the overall image, the safety and the manufacturability. We succeeded to come up with a design that met all criteria. The three big fish trap funnels tower over the dike as enlarged eel fishing nets, inviting visitors to climb in them. From the nets, one can enjoy the spectacular view over the Lauwers Lake. One of the three funnels is made of a patchwork of rest material from several fishing nets. This symbolises all the fishing nets that are left behind at sea and pollute our waters.

The second balcony, ‘The Visor’, symbolises an enlarged eel drum – normally used to store the eel after it has been caught. The balcony aims its visor at the Lauwers Lake and frames the view. The inside of the drum is decorated with drawings, symbolising the eel migration from the breeding grounds in de Sargasso sea.  

The concrete stairs that meander playfully up and down the dike form an important feature of the dike balconies. These stairs connect the harbour with the dike – offering visitors a place to sit down, unwind and enjoy the fabulous view of the harbour and the Lauwers Lake.

The Vizier and the eel fowl belong to a series of four artworks, the two other artworks realized by Lambert Kamps and Ben van der Meer can be seen on the last two photographs. 


Fotografie: Harry Cock