Daan Roosegaarde uses green lasers to showcase the "beauty" of wind turbines


Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde has turned a group of wind turbines into a light installation by connecting the structures with moving laser beams (+ movie).

Roosegaarde and a team of designers and engineers created the Windlicht installation at the Eneco wind farm in Zeeland, in the Netherlands, to "show the beauty of green energy".

Windlicht by Studio Roosegaarde

Roosegaarde designed software that would allow a green laser projected from one turbine to follow a blade on the turbine next to it.

A tracking system predicts where the blade will be, then sends a signal to the hardware attached to the centre of the turbine – allowing it to adjust according to the strength of the wind and speed of the rotations.

"We wanted to bring a positive dimension to green wind energy, and to add a playful and poetic dimension to our landscapes," Roosegaarde told Dezeen.

"We took inspiration from the cultural heritage of Kinderdijk in order to show how nature and technology can create a symbiosis," he said.


The Dutch village of Kinderdijk was declared a world heritage site in 1997 by UNESCO thanks to its 19 traditional wooden windmills dating from the 19th century.

According to Roosegaarde, some energy companies are interested in using Windlicht as a "new icon". He hopes that the installation will travel around the Netherlands and Denmark, and then on to the USA.

Windlicht by Studio Roosegaarde

"I love how people look differently at the windmills," he said. "Visitors just kept looking at the lines, as a zen state of being.

"They are a mesmerising experience, and create more awareness on the beauty of green energy."

Green energy company KPN supported the project, which has taken two years to complete.

"The update that the artwork gives to the landscape, represents important values such as sustainability and connectedness," said KPN CEO Eelco Blok. "Because these two values are of great significance for KPN, we are committed to this artwork."

"With Windlicht we support the idea of Roosegaarde that green energy is something to be proud of," he added.

Windlicht by Studio Roosegaarde

Windlicht can be seen on 18 and 19 of March from 8pm to 11pm at the Eneco wind farm at St Annaland in Zeeland.

Daan Roosegaarde's previous green projects include a smog vacuum cleaner in Rotterdam designed to improve the city's air quality.

The designer also created a bicycle path coated with a special paint that uses energy gathered during the day to glow after dark, to encourage people to cycle at night.

His other work with lighting spans projects from an installation above a flood channel – called Waterlicht – to a highway illuminated by solar power.

  • H-J

    Can’t even watch the Youtube link, although it’s a Dutch project and I’m watching it from Holland.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Back when America began electrifying itself, everybody wanted a power pole in their yard. When the trains signalled the beginning of the industrial revolution, everybody wanted tracks down main street.

    Fortunately those views have past. Hopefully, this view will, too, pass, for the same reasons.

    • Camden Greenlee

      Perhaps you want a coal plant in your neighbourhood park? A natural gas plant at your local waterway? An eight-lane highway that bisects an established neighbourhood?

      It takes a cynic to take an attempt to see something beautiful and turn it into an attempt to see something ugly.

      Since you like alternate proposals so much, I propose that you change your name from “Concerned” Citizen to “Cynical” Citizen, in the name of accuracy, of course.

      • Other Concerened Citizen

        When I see coal plants, oil rigs, mines, diesel trucks, huge trains, cars with big powerful engines running quarter miles on airplane fuel, I see beauty very much in the same way you do when you see wind turbines.

        See you think wind turbines are beautiful because they jive with your political agenda but I’m sure that to the thousands upon thousands of birds that are slaughtered by these turbines, not to mention bald eagles and bats, they aren’t quite as beautiful.

        Furthermore, to all the people who have the right not to share your political views yet have these wind farms as their once unspoiled views, sure to them they aren’t so beautiful as well. The American Wind Energy Association is constantly bragging about how many Megawatts are being installed, when wind turbine’s true ability to produce electricity is only one-third the amount claimed by the nameplate rating.

        Meanwhile, we (the people) have to pay for this craziness whether we believe what we are being told or not.

        • Kevin

          Ha! I never before heard the argument that wind turbines kill birds and bats. After doing a quick search I found a lot of speculation on the subject.

          To counter the argument I would like to point out that deer in the Czech Republic still avoid the area of the former electric fences that were part of the iron curtain. Even while none of the current generation deer lived in a period that the fence was actually there. So I think the birds and bats will adapt to the new situation. Survival of the fittest, right?

          To put the focus back on the project: I like it! Looks really nice, or zen as the article states. Maybe it could be a bit more dynamic if it was possible to mount the laser on one of the blades. But I can imagine that would be very hard or impossible.

          One question remains: how much energy does it cost to emit these bright lasers in comparison to the energy the turbines generate? And if the turbines moves more slowly does the brightness decrease?

      • HeywoodFloyd

        You are conflating the environmental benefits with aesthetics. They may be cleaner or more efficient, but their scale is monstrous and nine times out of 10 they visually destroy the surrounding landscape. People think they are beautiful when in reality they are just big.

        • Camden Greenlee

          Am I wrong in thinking that this article is about an art installation? Is it not an attempt by an artist to find beauty in infrastructure? My earlier comment was critical of “Concerned Citizen’s” cynicism. Any political or environmental commentary was incorrectly extrapolated.

      • Concerned Citizen

        It only takes experience, not cynicism. How did you make the leap to coal plants?

        • Camden Greenlee

          Concerned Citizen, I made a personal jab at you (that I regret) and I apologise. I’ll try to be more cordial in the future.

          My perspective on this is with regards to the Roosegaarde doing a really fascinating installation, regardless of how people feel about wind turbines.

  • Guest

    They’re all form, with little function.

    • Moneyandworktime

      Presently Iowa is 31.3% wind powered, South Dakota 25.5%, Kansas 23.9%, Oklahoma 18.4%, North Dakota 17.7%, Minnesota 17%, Idaho 16.2%, Vermont 15.4%, Colorado 14.2%, Oregon 11.3%, Maine 10.5%, Texas 10%.

      Imagine in five years when PTC production tax credit expires. Modern renewables are increasingly running industrial society.

  • Vindpust

    There is nothing ‘symbiotic’ about a clashing jumble of 125m-plus industrial turbines in attractive landscapes.

    Which is why, contrary to wind industry propaganda, there is so much popular opposition to them in all countries, including Holland.

    If you doubt that, please explain why the Danish government is spending DKr23.6m on and international project ‘Wind2050 – Multidisciplinary study on local acceptance and development of wind power projects’.

    “The project is popularly described as follows: ‘In spite of measures aimed at increasing the acceptance of wind turbine projects, both official and private bodies continue to experience a rising tendency for local conflict which is getting in the way of the ambitious target of a fossil-free Danish energy supply by 2050. This situation applies in the whole of Europe”. (Project abstract).


  • Gdavies

    Wind turbines are beautiful in my opinion. I don’t really get why there’s opposition to them in the UK.