Speech Birthe Leemeijer

Dokkum 05-2018

Speech given during the opening of 11fountains on 18 May 2018.


Today we meet each other for the first time at the recently redeveloped Market Square in Dokkum. All of this has been accomplished with an enormous amount of energy and perseverance.

‘Will it ever happen’ was the subtitle of my draft design for the Market and the Ice Fountain. And look where we are now. The first phase has been completed: a new square full of trees that turn red in autumn, a meeting place that connects the rich past with the present.  Almost 1300 years ago, Boniface cut down the sacred oak tree that was worshipped by the Frisians. The alliance with the great forces of nature was broken.
The consequences of breaking that connection are noticeable. The chance that there will be an Elfstedentocht again diminishes. But in the shade of these trees the Ice Fountain will emerge. Using green energy, the cold that has disappeared will be back on the fountain. Some days in large quantities and spectacular, other days as a thin layer of white frost. As the weather changes, the fountain changes too.
We knew that it wouldn’t be easy to make the Ice Fountain. The route we took was long, exploratory and could not be mapped out in advance. But -to speak in Dokkum terms- we have reached the turning point. With the wind behind us, the finish line is in sight! And we have a first impression of the sculpture, which is now being carved out of ice.

The past few years, I have gotten to know a lot of people from Dokkum. I noticed with how much passion they talk and work. It’s great that we have managed to achieve this together.

I hope to see everyone here again when the Ice Fountain is unveiled. As far as I am concerned, this will be as soon as possible.
See you then!