More Tom Otterness in Minneapolis!

There’s only about ten more posts remaining from my time in Japan.  However, I think it’s a good idea to take a break from talking about Japan every so often to look at something else.  Besides, I haven’t finished talking about Minneapolis!

During my trip to Minneapolis back in April, I rented a Nice Ride bike to get around the city a little more quickly.  On my way between the Walker Art Center and the riverfront, I saw some sculptures that looked really familiar.  I was so excited to see them that I dropped the bike on my foot, which caused some bruising and left me limping for the rest of the day.

What I was so excited to see was a courtyard full of these little round bodied statues.

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The last time I had seen these little fellows was at an outdoor sculpture garden in The Hague, in the Netherlands.  I looked into it, and sure enough, it was Tom Otterness again.

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The location, I found out later, is the Minneapolis U.S. Courthouse Plaza, constructed in 1997.

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The oddly shaped mounds of earth and grass are called Drumlins.  According to the downtown Minneapolis Skyway-Myway blog, the mounds “suggest the glacial drumlins (an elongated whale-shaped hill formed by glacial ice; the word is derived from the Gaelic word druim “rounded hill,” or “mound”).”

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I also learned from the aforementioned blog that the little round bodied sculptures are called “Rockman.”

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These two Rockman are my favorite.  (I’m declaring right here and right now that the plural of Rockman is also Rockman.)

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I suppose this little fellow would be a Rockturtle?

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I also really like this one, and I kinda feel like he’s just doing what I was doing that day.

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I’m glad that I stumbled across this little sculpture garden.  I found out from my research that there are other places in the US with little collections of Rockman by Tom Otterness.  I feel like I need to go see them all!

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What’s your favorite sculpture?

Scheveningen, The Hague

When we went to Keukenhof for the tulip festival and flower parade, we stayed in Scheveningen, a district of the Hague which borders the North Sea.  It contains a nice seaside resort area.

Before we went, I was convinced that the name of the place sounded a little bit like a lawnmower starting up.  I was wrong, though.  Click play on the sound bar below to hear what it really sounds like.

The three of us stayed at a nice hotel called the Boulevard Hotel.  We wanted to stay near the ocean, and it was one of the few places in our price range that had a room with three beds.    My bed actually folded up into a console when not occupied.    Jenny said I looked a little bit like Harry Potter under the stairs when I was on this.

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As soon as we dropped our stuff off in the hotel room, we walked back out to check out the beach and boardwalk, and to find some dinner.  It was windy, but amazing.

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We stopped at ‘t Pannekoekenhuisje, a pancake house, for dinner.   When we were walking in, this adorable little moppet was playing in an alligator and I couldn’t resist taking pictures.  Cute, eh?

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Anyway, back to the pancake house.   In the Netherlands, pancake houses aren’t much like iHop or anything that most Americans are used to.  For one thing, the pancakes are served as one ENORMOUS pancake that tends to be larger than the plate it’s served on.  For another thing, not all pancakes are sweet; some are savory.  Mine had mushrooms, garlic, and bacon.

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After dinner, there was more walking around the boardwalk-  this far north, the sun doesn’t set until pretty late, so we had plenty of daylight.  I was tickled by some of the touristy stuff going on here.

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I also think it’s kind of brilliant that spaced along the beach at intervals were poles with cartoon animals, the better to help children remember where their family is set up.   The beach wasn’t very crowded when we were there, but I can imagine that on a warmer day it would be utterly slammed with people.

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There’s a seaside trampoline park here!  I was tempted to go for a bounce.

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Not far from our hotel is a pretty amazing sculpture garden.  We missed it on our first trip down the beach because it’s up on the sidewalk and we were down on the beach.   On the way back to the hotel, however, it was impossible to miss.  The first two visible statues are enormously tall.

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This was one of my favorites:  the traditional boy with his finger in a dike.

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Most of these were based in fairy tales.  In fact, the entire sculpture garden is called SprookjesBeelden aan Zee (Fairytale Sculptures by the Sea) and it contains 23 sculptures by American sculptor Tom Otterness.

The sculpture garden is part of the Museum Beelden aan Zee, which is dedicated to sculpture and contains roughly one thousand different sculptures.  This one is called Crying Giant.

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Some of them are tiny by comparison.  This one was just a few inches tall.

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The fable of the Lion and the Mouse.  The lion had previously allowed the mouse to go free, and the mouse returned the favor later, after the lion had been captured by hunters.

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The Herring Eater, a twelve meter tall statue.

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I think we all know what this one is.

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I’m not sure which fairy tale this represents.

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These two are looking up at the Herring Eater.  I love the tiny ones hanging out with the midsized ones.

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Hansel and Gretel, trapped in a cage.  The one in the background that I did not capture fully is also Hansel and Gretel, after they’ve been fattened up.

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I really enjoyed these whimsical statues.

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This one was my favorite.

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Gulliver. I didn’t even notice the Lilliputian by his feet until Jenny pointed it out to me later.

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I kept walking for a while after I finished looking at the sculpture garden.  I thought this was quite colorful.

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Further down the beach is a traditional lighthouse and a memorial statue.  I haven’t been able to learn exactly what this is for, but the text on it says November 1813.

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I’ll leave you with one last look out at the North Sea before I close up this post.

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Have you ever been to Scheveningen?