Harlingen was once a town dedicated to the whaling industry. Today, we no longer strive to kill these huge, majestic animals, but want to save their lives instead. Especially now that, for reasons that remain unclear, we increasingly find them stranded in shallow water. The Harlingen fountain depicts a very life-like sperm whale. It lies near the Zuiderpier as if lost, although from time to time its powerful spouts indicates that it’s still alive. ‘The Whale’ shows the enormous impact man has on all life in the sea.

Polyester resin with steel frame
18 m long, 2.5 m high (scale 1:1)

Source of inspiration: the maritime history of the city and the whaling industry
Location: in the Willemshaven near the Zuiderpier
Address: Nieuwe Willemshaven, 8862 RZ Harlingen

The Whale

Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla


Visser SMP makes the sperm whale squirt

With a lot of enthusiasm Visser Special Metal Products from Harlingen is developing and fabricating the installation to make the ...

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Companies in Harlingen and Belgium make the whale together

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Potvis schaalmodel

At Zephyr Wildlife the clay model of the sperm whale is finished and agreed upon by the artists Allora & ...

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The model of the sperm whale is milled out in full size slices which will later be put together. The ...

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Jennifer Allora & Guillermo CalzadillaVS, CU

‘On the barricades’ could have been the motto of artist couple Allora & Calzadilla (1974, 1971) who live in Puerto Rico. With all the means available to contemporary art, they criticize the ruthless and violent exploitation of man and nature by the global political-economic system. With their often very direct sculptures, videos and photographs, they show the consequences of this while using their performances and musical projects to call for resistance.

Work by Allora & Calzadilla is included in the collection of the MoMa in New York, the Centre Pompidou and Tate Modern. In 2011, they represented the United States at the Venice Biennale. For this, they placed an upturned army tank outside the American pavilion with an athlete running on top of the caterpillar tracks.


Experience Harlingen

The robust city of Harlingen, on the doorstep of the World Heritage Site the Wadden Sea, is a magnet for those who love wind and water. But it’s just as attractive for anyone interested in its glorious, nautical past.


Historical Harbour City

In the Frisian harbour city of Harlingen lies an eighteen-meter-long sperm whale made of resin. The life-sized artwork is created by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla. They aim to raise awareness about the consequences of globalization and industrialization through their work.

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