Giant 'SeaSaw' creates new symbol for Dutch city

The city of Den Helder in The Netherlands will soon be home to an enormous, publicly accessible seesaw.

Due for completion in 2019,  "SeaSaw" is 300m2 of functional artwork and five kilometres of walking, hiking and cycling track, forming an infinite loop.

Urban redeveloper Zeestad selected MVRDV as the winners of their competition to create a new symbol for Den Helder- something that would not only give the city a sense of identity, but renew its connection to the sea.

 "Seasaw" will provide a viewing platform to the sea.  All images are courtesy of MVRDV.

"Seasaw" will provide a viewing platform to the sea.  All images are courtesy of MVRDV.

Den Helder is a viewpoint for Marsdiep, a gap connecting the North and Wadden Sea, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site perhaps best known for its tidal mudflats.

However, because the town has a dike running from its dunes to the harbour, the sea views have been blocked. "SeaSaw" creates a viewing platform so residents and visitors can experience an ocean outlook.

The viewing platform is designed to rock like a seesaw with the changing of the tide, existing in a state of constant movement and representing the dynamics of the sea.

 The platform will rock with the changing tide.

The platform will rock with the changing tide.

MVRDV’s Jacob van Rijs says, “we wanted to create movement. Not only with the icon itself, but also in the environment.” This perhaps explains the use of an infinity symbol as the shape of the development - representing the concept of no end or beginning.

 'Seasaw" is due for completion next year. 

'Seasaw" is due for completion next year. 

Project details

Location: Den Helder, The Netherlands

Year: 201 8 +

Client: Zeestad and the municipality of Den Helder

Budget: Undisclosed

Design: MVRDV - Winy Maas, Jacob Van Rijs and Nathalie De Vries

Design Team: J a cob van Rijs, Stefan de Koning with Ronald Hoogeveen, Sanne van der Burgh, Geert Folmer, Stavros Gargaretas, Boudewijn Thomas, Mariya Gyaurova, Akshey Krishna Venkatesh, Afrodite Moustroufis, Angel Sanchez Navarro, Boris Tikvarski, Edina Peli, Kristin Schaefer, Katarzyna Nowak, Kevin Loftus, Luca Vacchin i, Mirco Facchinelli and Meng Yang

Visualisation: Antonio Luca Coco, Tomaso Maschietti, Giovanni Coni and Kirill Emelianov Partners

IMd Consulting engineers: ir. Pim Peters RO and ir. Sander Lamping