Daniel Libeskind, Polderland Garden of Love and Fire, photo: Kelly Jochems

Polderland Garden of Love and Fire (1997)

Daniel Libeskind

The vertical aluminium walls that jointly form a labyrinth are the most striking parts of the work of art Polderland Garden of Love and Fire in Almere. You can sometimes walk through the work without pause, while at others you find yourself in a cul-de-sac. Architect Daniel Libeskind’s land art project also includes the straight canals and the footpath. From above, the walls look like five lines that cross Pampushout in different directions, like enigmatic letters in the landscape.

Libeskind presented a first model of the work during a 1991 exhibition in De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the death of the Spanish mystic and poet Juan de la Cruz (1542-1591). Drawing inspiration from the latter’s poem Llama de amor viva, Libeskind designed what he called a meditation garden.

If you were to extend one of the lines of Polderland Garden of Love and Fire to the southwest, it would end up in Salamanca, where De la Cruz studied in the sixteenth century. A crossing canal points to Berlin in the northeast, where Libeskind had his studio at the time; the opposite side points in the direction of Amsterdam. In this way, the artist connects the new land to these ancient, cultural cities and puts Almere on the world map.

The work invites you to reflect on all of these intersecting lines, all of those connections between different places, people, events and times. The lines do not, however, come together in a central point and this can be disorienting, labyrinthine. As a result, the work also raises questions about where you actually are or where you are going, both physically and spiritually.

Daniel Libeskind's Polderland Garden of Love and Fire (1997) is located on Pampushavenweg in Almere, The Netherlands. Click here for address and coordinates.

Daniel Libeskind, Polderland Garden of Love and Fire (1997), photo Franzi Mueller-Schmidt, February 2021

Artist: Daniel Libeskind (1946)
Title: Polderland Garden of Love and Fire
Unveiling: 1997 (after restoration again unveiled on 4 October 2017)
Materials: aluminium, concrete, water, trees
Dimensions: 250 x 250 metres
Location: Pampushavenweg (between Oostvaardersdijk and Brikweg), Almere
Managed by the municipality of Almere and Het Flevo-landschap.