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The Curlew, Ommen

Sculpture, Ommen NL, Project Team: René van Zuuk, Client: Municipality of Ommen, Start of design: 1998, Completion: 2000, Building costs: sponsorship

De Wulp (The Curlew), is a sculptural fountain, originally designed for a specific location in Lemelerveld, a city in the east of the Netherlands. The municipality wanted to cover a part of a canal with a 15 meter wide concrete slab. Consequently, a square was created, intersected by a road. The assignment comprised of a fountain design that would reunite both parts of the square.

The design of the sculpture reminisces a curlew, a well-known dutch wading bird. Once every minute, a jet of water would be sprouted across the street, reaching the opposite part of the square. The water squirt would follow the arc form that the sculpture already boasts, thus connecting the two square halves. Issues regarding traffic safety hazards, made the municipality choose a fountain from another designer.

De Wulp seemed to have ''died'' quietly, but two years later, an unexpected phone call from a woman in the neighboring town of Ommen, revitalized the project. She had become wildly enthusiastic about the sculpture through a model of the project she kept at home, and pressed the municipal authorities to have the fountain built in Ommen. With her determination, and the help of sponsors, the fountain was finally realized. The main structure is made of steel, with weatherboarded wooden shingles playing the part of the feathers. De Wulp is now located near a bridge leading to Omenn and has become a city landmark. Coincidence and determination fueled the project, resulting in an abstract, elegant form, in a surprisingly appropriate rural setting.

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