Commissioned by Overijssel county

The provincial road N34 touches the meandering Vecht just once in the landscape of Overijssel, this point is also called ‘The Point of Tangency-N34’. A point of tangency in geometry is the point where a straight line touches a curved line. The original meaning of geo-metry is the ‘measuring of the earth’.

In the early 18th century, military engineer Pieter de la Rive (1694-1771) mapped the catchment of the Vecht in Overijssel. An eye-catching element in this drawing is a 35 kilometre long defence line that stretches from Gramsbergen to Dalfsen. However, this line was never built and remained a mere ambition. What remains is a stunning 18th century map. It is informative to compare such historic maps with today’s topography: what has remained the same and what has changed? One of the strongholds in De la Rive’s line was to be in the exact same place as the Point of Tangency N34 is today. From a military point of view, this was a strategic and clever place for a stronghold, because, just like today, this particular place touched a curve in the meandering Vecht. If De la Rive’s plans had been executed 300 years ago, we would be able to see a podium where all the hidden qualities of the Point of Tangency are concentrated. If we were to turn this into a contemporary piece of land art, we could again bring those qualities back to the surface. I would like to suggest a piece of art that is inspired by the geometry of the Old-Dutch bastion-type. It requires the use of dimensions that are based on the Rijnland’s measurements (in rods and feet), just like Pieter de la Rive would have used; ‘de la Rive revisited’.

Sketch design: April 2012
Official unveiling: 13 September2013
For more information about this design, see the booklet GEO-METRY (English)