Sweder Spanjer

Sweder Spanjer


Voor altijd op reis: Een overtocht naar Terschelling

I love Terschelling. Not only because my family has been born and bred there for generations, but especially due to the romance of the boat trip, the different landscapes on a small piece of the earth and the abundant forces of nature present. Many more people love Terschelling apart from me, as evidenced by 400,000 people crossing over each year. These people come back each year, if not more often, to the island. The love for the island is often passed on to successive generations, as families spend their holidays here together. And then a person is suddenly confronted with death and also, therefore, his or her next of kin. You ask yourself how you would like to spend the last moments of your life. Do you do that in a hospice, as is customary nowadays? Although it may be exaggerating somewhat, a large number of people stay in a simulated home environment, where they all wait for death, in combination with the necessary medical care. A place where a rift arises between the living environment and the place where one will die; where the family come to visit now and again.

I believe that things should be done differently, and can be done differently!

Wouldn’t it be nice to make the crossing to Terschelling, the place you love so much, one final time with the family, who are often spread out across the country. And to spend the remaining time there together, almost like previous holidays. Surrounded by mother nature, with her forces, rhythms and influences. The wind, which ensures that the landscape is continually in motion. The sea with its tides, the turbulent weather which you see coming from afar. The crystal-clear nights with the starry sky. A place where you can find solace, because you realise that we are all part of nature, a greater whole. That consists of influences which we have no control over and rhythms that are constantly recurring, just like the cycle of life and death. And we will all ultimately be swept along in these natural trends, in which we abandon ourselves to nature and can surrender to dying.

A place where there are memories of previous holidays on the island, as a result of which you reflect on beautiful, special events and moments. And then you spend your final moments on one of the most beautiful locations of the island, right on top of a dune. Surrounded by people that you love, at a place you love. A place where the future bereaved can support each other, as an important part of the care; Where the collective bond between the families is shaped by providing the primary needs, food and warmth, together and maintaining this throughout the year. As a result of this, the interaction between the various families and people is stimulated and the interaction can lead to a bond or a friendship, like a form of enrichment. Seven families can stay here, so that following the death of one or two people, the other families are not immediately in the minority and no undesirable imbalance is created between the current and new families.

As a result, there is also a balance between life and death. I believe that seven accommodations for seven families with an average stay of three weeks will result in a balance between them, so that there is no coming and going of families. A place where I have achieved the personal ambition of uniting death and commemoration in one place. The place where someone dies is of great significance to me and, in addition, there is no interruption in living environment at a time when you are particularly vulnerable as surviving relative. Given that the death may be confronting for the other families, I have consciously dealt with this phase and the accompanying emotions in a subtle manner. The phasing through time and the introverted character of parts of the accommodation and the courtyard tie in with this. Then returning to the extroverted landscape after a few days mourning, where you meet your friends and family before saying farewell.

Commission: Jan-Richard Kikkert (mentor), Bruno Doedens, Gunnar Daan. Additional members for the exam: Ira Koers, Bart Bulter.

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