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: