on kunstwegen through the vechte river valley
Over 30 sculptures have been created along the river Vechte in and around Nordhorn within the last three decades. Today these objects exemplify, on an international level, some of the most recent aspects of the history of public art. At the same time, artworks have been set up at several railway stations on the Dutch side of the Vechte valley since 1987. The remaining gap on the border of the two countries was finally closed around the year 1998 when 15 international artists created new works closely related to the local history and landscape.
Since summer 2000, over 60 artworks, going under the name »kunstwegen«, have constituted Europe’s largest open museum, along a route of approximately 150 kilometres. Most objects are installed in the open air, so they are accessible at any time and for everybody. The more recent art projects in particular respond closely to regional conditions by taking up natural phenomena, historical events and local peculiarities to enrich the landscape with innovative artistic focus.
Ilya and Emilia Kabakov for instance, in their sculpture marking the Dutch-German border, are concerned with what separates and what unites people. Peter Fischli und David Weiss guide visitors through the ecological variety of the moor and eventually evoke memories of the prisoner-of-war-camps during the »Third Reich«. Or Till Krause time and again offers unusual views on the traveller’s route, offering meticulous observations and carefully drawn maps along the way.
These are only three of many fascinating artistic encounters in the Vechte valley. Within the moor and heath landscape with its small woods, canals, wide meadows and romantic hamlets, »kunstwegen« invites the visitor on a tour through history and around many local stories, always using art to elicit these multiple aspects in unexpected ways.