The sea gives, the sea takes. Stavoren, once a wealthy Hansa town, knows all about it. Floods, trade wars, a port that silted up: on several occasions, the city fell into poverty. But each time it recovered and shipping and fishing brought new prosperity. Folk tales such as ‘the Lady of Stavoren’ tell of that precarious fate. ‘The Fish for Stavoren’ adds a new story, with a wink to a symbolic drawing by Pieter Bruegel the Elder: ‘Big Fish Eat Little Fish!’ The massive open mouth of a mighty fish lures us inside along its water spouting lips. Who will have a lucky escape in Stavoren?

synthetic resin, PU foam, steel
3.3 m high, 6 m wide, 8.4 m long

Source of inspiration: the fishing history of Stavoren and a drawing by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Location: the square at Stationsweg
Address: Stationsweg, 8715 ES Stavoren

Oortwolk Franeker

The Fish for Stavoren

Mark Dion


Mark DionVS

For his sculptures and installations, Mark Dion (1961) delves deep into the history of a subject or a location and, like an archaeologist, uncovers all kinds of hidden aspects. His involvement with the world is often infused with a sense of humour, but there is also an edge to it, especially when it comes to current historiography or how we treat animals. The rich, but largely hidden history of Stavoren highly appeals to him.

Experience Stavoren

In the water sports season, Stavoren brims with liveliness. In its harbour the boats are moored in rows and visitors take a stroll over the dike and promenade, while enjoying a cone of ice cream. Stavoren used to be a prosperous city, thanks to the sea trade. From its harbour, ships sailed to Sweden, Norway and England. It was an important place.

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