Sand sculptures take over central The Hague, to celebrate Scheveningen beach

Baldrick Buckle with his winning sculpture. Photo: Beata Imans

A British man who has lived in Amsterdam for 20 years has won top prize in the first world sand sculpting championship ever held in the Netherlands.

The 33 ton sculpture entitled ‘The road from Scheveningen’, is a pastiche of a famous American installation named the The Flying Steamroller and took some 10 days to create.

In total, nine of the best internationally renowned sand artists in the world took over the centre of The Hague and created pieces in line with the theme ‘200 years of sea, sand and…’. The competition was organised to celebrate 200 years of Scheveningen as a beach resort.

The artists used a total of 380 tons of sand (equivalent to some12 truck loads) to create nine large pieces, some of them up to five meters high.

‘This time, we presented the works in a special location – the city centre – making it an attraction to the inhabitants and tourists,’ said Marcel Elsjan, one of the organisers. ‘This year we also collaborated with lighting artists who created spectacular settings for the sculptures and the whole venue.’

River sand

Sand sculpting is an art form that only uses sand and water, allowing the artists to create sculptures within a reasonably short time. River sand is the best material for sand sculpting due to its angular grains, and mixed with a fraction of silt and clay. The best sand for sculpting in the Netherlands comes from near Nijmegen.

‘Scheveningen was the place I first started sand sculpting and now, 20 years later, my ambition is to help bring sand sculpture into a contemporary art forum,’ said Baldrick Buckle (46), the new world champion, who originally comes from Leeds, and was awarded his prize on Wednesday.

Second place went to Japan sand artist Katsu Chaen and third place to Thomas Koet from the US. The piece by Dutchman Maxim Gazendam was not included in the competition, because the Netherlands is the host nation.

The sand sculptures are on show on the Lange Voorhout in The Hague until August 18.

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