Head to Zuiderstrand and enjoy a meditative walk in the direction of Rotterdam, the rhythmic crashing of waves on your right and the dunes to your left. Keep your eyes peeled and just in front of De Fuut (a yellow beach café with a blue roof) you will spot something unusual. Is it art? Is it science? These are the Strandbeesten. Created by Scheveningen local Theo Jansen who combined his love for physics and art, these amazing kinetic sculptures reside on the beach in the summer. For many years, Theo has been developing his sculptures and they have evolved into fantastical creatures that move independently if the weather conditions are ideal (they need wind).
The models are based on a system of triangles and connecting links made of yellow PVC electrical piping, which converts the rotation of an axle into a stepping motion of legs. Theo might be around too, at work in his workshop. If the weather conditions allow it, he will set the beasts up to walk. The ideal conditions for walking the beach animals are a wind speed between 20 and 30 km per hour parallel to the coast. Otherwise the Strandbeesten rest on the beach day and night and you can admire them up close.
Theo has given a Tedtalk about his work and there are plenty of YouTube films to view. Possibly a lesser known accolade is that Theo and his Strandbeest have featured in their own Simpsons episode “The Nightmare After Krustmas”.