The role of the arts in coping with place change at the coast

Gwenda van der Vaart*, Bettina van Hoven, Paulus Huigen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper explores the role of the arts in people's coping with (potential) place change at the coast in light of wind energy developments. In doing so, we elaborate on the effects of the arts on people's emotional connections to the landscape; the memories, beliefs, meaning and knowledge they associate with the landscape; and the expression of people's attachments through actions. We draw on 28 walking interviews and three group discussions which were conducted in Pingjum, a village along the Dutch Wadden Sea coast. A key feature in Pingjum's landscape is the Gouden Halsband, a late medieval dike surrounding the village. Recently, the area around Pingjum (including this dike) was designated as a potential location for the construction of a new windfarm. In our study, we found that the arts in Pingjum fuelled people's emotional connection to their (coastal) landscape and the Gouden Halsband, enhanced their knowledge of both and triggered them to reflect on the meanings they assign to them. In addition, the arts enhanced people's awareness and stimulated their assessment of the windfarm plans. The arts framed people's interpretation of the windfarm plans, mainly bringing potential negative impacts on the landscape to their attention. In this way, the arts encouraged action, stimulating both efforts to preserve the Gouden Halsband and protests against the proposed windfarm plans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-204
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2018


  • coping with place change
  • place attachment
  • the arts
  • Wadden Sea coast
  • walking interviews
  • wind energy
  • RISK

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