Dolen in dit doolhof: The Willow Labyrinth at IJsselstein (NL)

The next station on tour B of the Dutch Maze and Labyrinth Symposium 2011 on June 3, was the willow labyrinth at IJsselstein. It is situated on the border of a small sea, surrounded by meadows.

The region around IJsselstein is known for her willow cultures and basket-work. Also the Pima Indians in Arizona (USA) have this tradition. They make baskets with a labyrinth pattern of an own kind which is known as “the man in the maze” and round which again legends entwine.

The artist Jan van Schaik was inspired by all that and on the day of the tree in 2003 he created together with 400 children the willow labyrinth from three different cultivars. The province of Utrecht awarded the Natuur-en Milieuprijs to the labyrinth .

Jan van Schaik guided us and told and pointed out all that.

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The plan of the Indian labyrinth is slightly changed. The innermost circle is not closed as usually. On the contrary: It is the real centre of the labyrinth. Thereby the normally used (small, dead end-like) centre changes to a sort of antechamber or entry area. In IJsselstein this particularly makes sense, because the middle looks like a tent. The willows which run up upwards form a closed space.
The man in the maze

The man in the maze

The meanwhile above head height grown willows form a sort of tunnel system and permit no overview about the alignment of the paths as it is normally possible in a labyrinth.
One feels almost like in a maze because one does not see where the next turn leads to, how far one is away from the centre and in which direction one is walking. One must confide in the path more than usual. Quite a new experience in a labyrinth.

In the interactive map of Google Earth one recognises the labyrinth very well:

Dolen in dit doolhof: The Labyrinth in the St. Nicolaaskerk at Nieuwegein (NL)

The next station on tour B of the Dutch Maze and Labyrinth Symposium 2011 on June 3, was the church labyrinth in Nieuwegein.

In the entrance area on the west side of the neo-Gothic Saint Nicolaaskerk, consecrated in 1875, is a labyrinth about 4 x 4 metres, made of dark and bright tiles. The way is formed by two rows of bright stones, while the boundary line is a row of dark stones. The form is basically square, even if the four corners are “sloped”. In the middle is the Latin inscription: Per crucem ad coronam (by the cross to the crown). The labyrinth has five circuits.
The alignment is adopted from the five inner circuits of the Chartres labyrinth, even if it is mirrored.
The church was projected by the Dutch architect Alfred Tepe (1840-1920); who has sketched the labyrinth, is not known.

St. Nicolaaskerk

St. Nicolaaskerk

Main entrance

Main entrance

The labyrinth

The labyrinth

The centre

The centre

From the side

From the side

Looking to the entrance

Looking to the entrance

The five inner circuits of the Chartres Labyrinth

The five inner circuits of the Chartres Labyrinth

Dolen in dit doolhof: The Water Labyrinth at Nijmegen (NL)

The next station on tour B of the Dutch Maze and Labyrinth Symposium 2011 on June 3, was the water labyrinth in Nijmegen.
It was constructed in 1981 by the German artist Klaus van de Locht (1942 – 2003) along the river Waal when the area of the old harbour was rebuilt.  The labyrinth is a seven circuit classical labyrinth. The way is built of quarrystones and small water channels form the limitation.

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The artist writes about his work:

The spiritual and physical participation of the visitors is a necessary part of this sculpture, the interaction of work and receiver is the aim. This sculptural structure wants to be used, walked, climbed, be felt, … in the true sense of the word wants to be lived.

In this interactive map from Google Earth you can see the labyrinth:

On YouTube there is a wonderful video of the autumnal labyrinth. Please, be patient while looking, it is 10 minutes long.

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Here you will find other photos of the labyrinth and introductory words of Klaus van de Locht (in Dutch): Link >

If you click on the website on [terug naar index] you will come to the main page and can still find out a lot more about and from Klaus van de Locht.

Dolen in dit doolhof: A kerkdoolhof (Church Maze) in the St. Martinuskerk at Oud-Zevenaar (NL)

On the 3rd of June, 2011 the Dutch Maze and Labyrinth Symposium 2011 offered two excursions. I have taken part on the route B which led as first to a kerkdoolhof: a maze in a church. It was very interesting and seems to be a little bit strange, but it was absolutely remarkable. I suppose that only Dutchmen can have such an idea.

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The Saint Martinuskerk in Oud-Zevenaar is from the 12th century, in the 19th century near the entrance a maze from black and white records was laid on the floor. The black records form the way. The maze is square with 8 circuits (depending on how one counts) and an unambiguously recognizable centre in the middle.
The layout

The layout

If one has got the knack, the way into  the centre is to be found relatively easy. At every branch one must decide where to go: Straight ahead or turning to the right or to the left? Each wrong way ends in a dead end. Because one can see still at the branch where the dead ends are, one must not follow all the paths and can continue the right way. And, finally, after 10 decisions and 9 “completed” dead ends one reaches the centre.
The entrance is also not to be recognised immediately, but the outermost circuit opens only at one spot and this is the right access. With the trial-and-error method one finds out all that. I started, for example, in the centre and searched (and found) the right way outwards.

And the deeper sense for all that in a church? I suppose: none. Since a maze offers above all fun and play. Or does this make sense, nevertheless?
Ask the priest or a Dutchman.