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Schouwen-Duiveland lies in the heart of the southwestern delta. A former natural estuary, where the rivers Meuse, Rhine and Scheldt used to flow into the sea and the sea itself used to flow far inland twice a day.
Through human intervention the estuary has largely been restrained, with two channelled rivers, the Western Scheldt and NieuweWaterweg (New Waterway) and a dynamic of fresh and salt water that has largely been controlled. In the calm of this artificial system Schouwen-Duiveland now lies, protected against the salt of the sea by dunes, dams and dykes, yet still vulnerable: economically and ecologically dependent on a thin layer of fresh water just beneath ground level, threatened by saltwater seepage, rising sea levels and forces of nature.
Traditionally, the landscape has been used by agricultural farmers, fishermen and shellfish farmers. Some are facing a constant fight against salinization while others are dependent on the rhythm of the tide and free access to the sea.
Within this tense relationship the leisure industry, nature conservation and the economy are developing. Specialists are trying to maintain this fragile balance in the delta. They are responsible for the area’s coastal defenses, fresh and salt water management and the mobility system, and at the same time strive to maintain as much of the area’s natural resilience and robustness as possible. They have found unique solutions and are developing new techniques that are spreading worldwide, making it possible to create safer living conditions in sustainable estuaries elsewhere.
As an art institute in Schouwen-Duiveland, the Bewaerschole naturally moves with the cultural and socioeconomic developments on the island. This is why we have spent the last five years focusing on the ever-changing balance between fresh and salt water and have asked artists to visualise this permanent quest for balance. Some fifteen artists—with very different perspectives and using different approaches– have visualised how people and nature on this island are “balancing between fresh and salt water “.
Because of its subject matter, the artists have collaborated with inhabitants and visitors, with consumers and custodians of the landscape, as well as with specialists who, based on their knowledge of local challenges, operate globally.

In short, our project is a continuous shift from the smallest details in the landscape to questioning the principles of our culture. Although we work within the poetic confines of art, we strive to connect our thoughts, associations and questions that arise with the “real” world, in which water has a price, and is both a necessity and a threat. (Anne Ausloos)

C O M P L E T A T I O N   O F   T H E   P R O J E C T
From March 2018 onwards the final presentation of the project will take place, with some projects continuing into 2019. This year, the main focus is on organising various activities for the public on multiple locations on the island. The aim is to further involve inhabitants, tourists, and pupils in the project.
In their contributions to the project, artists are focusing on the changing landscape and the questions and wealth that these changes bring with it.
The artists have collaborated with inhabitants and visitors, with consumers and custodians of the landscape, as well as with specialists who, based on their knowledge of local challenges, operate globally.
The contributing artists are not people who come up with solutions, but are people who perceive and think differently, and who interpret straightforward questions as a possibility for change. Thanks to their imagination the artists are able to make a contribution to raising awareness for the problems surrounding the “Balance between Fresh and Salt Water”. It is their task to make these problems tangible while at the same time making their visualisations understandable.

During the five-year period of the project, the Bewaerschole will run the website: This is a vital part of our communication with involved and interested parties. All relevant information to the project, from background information to upcoming activities, as well as step-by-step updates on the artists’ progress can be found there.

F R I E N D S   O F   T H E   B E W A E R S C H O L E
If this project appeals to you and you would like more information or become more involved, this is possible. You can either become a follower of the Bewaerschole or a contributor, or you can also become a volunteer/supervisor and help out during exhibitions. For more information:


Weststraat 1 8
The Netherlands


Friday – Sunday
2 P M. –  5 P M .

Final presentations “Balancing between Fresh and Salt Water

Saturday 10 March 2018 at 14.00: opening of the project Diversification, which is on until 29 April.
The program starts off with two lectures in the Grote Kerk in Haamstede. Firstly, ShahChowdhury with his lecture titled Building with Nature, which discusses natural sea defences here and in Bangladesh. Secondly, Anne Ausloos and Jeroen van Westen’s Five Full Years, sharing their findings of the project Balancing between Fresh and Salt Water.
This is followed by four presentations in the Bewaerschole:

Esther Kokmeijer will show her preliminary design of an installation portraying the migration of the Arctic Swallow from the North Pole to the South Pole and back, with Schouwen-Duiveland being its most southern nesting ground.
WimGeeven will present the second part of Constructing a Landscape. Having previously shown us what goes on at the surface level of the newly brackish landscape created on the southern coast of Schouwen-Duiveland, Geeven is now focusing on the area’s deeper layers. These are the parts not immediately apparent to the human eye, but which support and–to a great extent–shape the landscape above.
Aletta de Jong, in collaboration with the organisation WildWier and other interested parties, is making a sculptural composition in the Bewaerschole based on her research on seaweeds in the waters around Schouwen-Duiveland. Her findings will be published on the Bewaerschole website as well as in the series of NETbooks by Printroom Rotterdam. The interactive set-up in the Bewaerschole will be on display until the next period, during which she will be collaborating with the Onkruidenier.
Willem Besselink will present the initial sketch of his work above<>below, which depicts the salt contents of ground water at specific locations in Zeeland. His sketch is based on data gathered by Deltares for the FRESHEM project.

Saturday 5 May 2018: Opening of Halotolerance, which is on until 24 June.
The exhibition is opened by two lectures on halotolerance by Ronald Boer and Jonmar van Vlijmen – the Onkruidenier  These will take place in the Grote Kerk in Burgh Haamstede. In the Bewaerschole, they will then present a spatial installation based on their research into halophilic plants and halotolerance in general. The main question they will be asking: what will halotolerant mankind need in an increasingly salinizing landscape?

Tuesday 15 May 2018: Opening of Cloister-bricks, which is on until 30 September.
In the medieval walls of the abbey in Middelburg, the occasional shiny brick can be seen. Visual artists Anne Ausloos and Jeroen van Westen are trying to discover how fresh and salt are expressed in landscape and culture. Taking on the role of experimental archaeologists, they did research on why some of these bricks shine and what these stones tell us about the history of the local landscape and its inhabitants.

Saturday 26 May 2018 at 13.30
Guided tour through Middelburg abbey. Duration: 1 hour
Anne Ausloos and Jeroen van Westen will take visitors of the Zeeuwse Museum on a journey through the abbey. From exterior to interior, from hall to foundation.
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Friday 15 June 2018 at 17.00
During the opening of the KunstschouwRonald Boer and Jonmar van Vlijmen will organise a futuristic halotolerant buffet in the garden of the Bewaerschole, during which visitors will view halophilic plants and especially themselves from a different perspective.

June July August 2018
Sheet Music of Fresh and Salt Water. Marjolijn Boterenbrood will place an installation in the open field near Schapenweg 1 in Zonnemaire. The installation consists of three large canvases she has previously made for an exhibition in the Bewaerschole. These canvases have been printed and afterwards woven and/or reworked with different materials such as metal wire, wax, seaweed and salt. Exposure to various climatic conditions such as rain and saltwater seepage will transform the canvases. Corrosion, dirt and moisture will also leave their mark and, as it were, write their music on the canvases.
Saturday 30 June 2018 at 14.00
Settlement Shaped by Sand, which is on until 2 September
The exhibition starts with two lectures in the Grote Kerk in Haamstede. Bas Arens (geologist) will talk about “ moving dunes” while Leontine Lieffering will talk about her research into the effects of sand drifts. These are followed by the opening of Leontine Lieffering’s installation “Nederzetting, door zandgeschuurd” (Settlement Shaped by Sand), which looks into villages and buildings on Schouwen-Duiveland now covered by sand. Her starting point is “OnzeLieveVrouwe op Zee”, a hamlock on the island of Schouwen which has completely disappeared as a result of sand drifts.

Saturday 1 September 2018 at 11.00 Balancing between Fresh and Salt Water
An event in and along the Schelphoek and in the community centre in Serooskerke. The final presentation of five years of research into balancing fresh and salt water with special activities for visitors by Ronald Boer, Jonmar van Vlijmen, Aletta de Jong (gathering and listing halophilic plants), Marjolijn Boterenbrood (sheet music on canvases and conversations with inhabitants), Jeroen van Westenen Anne Ausloos (Experiencing the Caisson in the Schelphoek), Gerco de Ruijter (VR-projectTether), Astrid van Nimwegen (concert, dance, film), Bruno Doedens (the film ALLES BEWEEGT) , lectures by staff of WaterschapScheldestromen and others. The event ends with a meal of fresh and salt water products open to all.

2019: Opening of Verseput and Waterlanders
At the Stadhuismuseum in Zierikzee, Anne Ausloos and Jeroen van Westen will showcase their findings of their research into the cultural history of fresh water on an island surrounded by salt water.
The Great Flood of 1953 signalled the end of a centuries-old tradition of gathering and storing fresh water on Schouwen-Duiveland. It also seems to have meant the loss of all practical knowledge. Up to 1953 this knowledge was so taken for granted that no one realised its importance.
The rediscovery of ways to store fresh water is the starting point of a visual exhibition that has strong ties to the collection of the Stadhuismuseum.. For current opening times, please visit the website: www.