Wondrous wind walkers.....!

Since 1990 Dutch artist and sculptor Theo Jansen has created moving sculptures which walk on on the beaches near The Hague, in the Netherlands.

Each “animal” moves by wind power alone, and is made out of PVC tubes and bound together by zip ties!

They are structured on a system of triangles and connecting links which convert the rotation of an axle into a stepping motion of six or more legs. This allows these strange creatures to travel over sand much more efficiently than if traveling on wheels.1 A rotating spine allows each animal to move forwards and backwards.

Collectively, they are known as Strandbeests, which means beach animals.

Take a look at the 2 minute video below and you will see just how mesmerising his sculptures are!

Aren't they just incredible!

But why does he do it? Jansen is an artist, but was always retained an interested in science since his school days. In 1980, he built a flying saucer that was so realistic, it was determined to be a UFO and nearly caused a riot! It made him famous, and got him hooked on what else could be possible in building machines.

His Stranbdbeests enable him to marry together his two great loves, art and science, and he has spent the past 27 years perfecting their design. He has said that "The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds."1

Now into his 70s, he continues to refine his designs and improve their capabilities.

The sculptures are also able to store air pressure in order to propel themselves in the absence of wind. His more sophisticated creations are even able to detect when they have entered water and are able to move away from it. One model is capable of anchoring itself to the earth if an approaching storm is sensed.1

Theo Jansen and his 'wondrous wind walkers' have toured the world, from Art Basel in Miami to Tokyo, Paris and London. His 2007 TED talk has attracted more than 4 million views, and he and one of his creations have even starred in an episode of The Simpsons!2


  1. With thanks to Wikipedia
  2. With thanks to Jane Albert, The Financial Reveiw, 10th July 2018