In 2010 Wapke Feenstra explored the Limburg landscape by following the movements of land-based products.
22 SEPTEMBER – SIBELCO - TRANSPORTING SAND BY RAIL
The quartz sand has been loaded. Instructor Geert Thys will accompany us because I mustn't distract the engine driver's attention from all sorts of signs and signals. We start in locomotive number 7790 (diesel). At Balen we move to a second locomotive which is coupled to the first. Locomotive number 7869 will provide the extra power that is needed to transport over 1500 tons of sand. The coupling takes a while because the brakes are checked out again. On the way to Antwerp the engine-driver eats his packed lunch. It's the end of his shift and he takes the 21 wagons of sand to a shunting yard in the Antwerp docks. We walk past the wagons to the engine drivers' post. Geert Thys points out the big metal brakes on every wheel. I take some photos. We wait for a locomotive to transport the sand to Luxemburg.
22 SEPTEMBER – SIBELCO – THE TRIP TO THE GLASS FACTORY
We ride with driver Hugo Struyven in number 1331, an electric locomotive with much more power. It will need it because it's heading for the hilly landscape of Wallonia. I learn that a crocodile, a dog and a tortoise have nothing to do with animals but are trainspeak for things on and along the rails. Trains are totally new territory for me. My meagre knowledge about the sand consignment is news to the train driver. Hugo knows all the landmarks along the route, he drives it four times a week (two return trips). There's water on our right or left, a Belgian flag on a rock and a wonderful high railway bridge. We cross some woodland where a deer has been recently hit by a train - the last of a group to cross the railway line. Didn't make it. Wasn't fast enough. It has been dark for hours when the train comes to a standstill in Bettembourg. 1500 tons of sand for the glass industry.
18 SEPTEMBER – VROENHOVEN – POTATO HARVEST
The tractor of neighbour Gillet tips all the Markies potatoes into a huge yellow bin with Climax emblazoned across its side. Clumps of loam, dead foliage and undersized potatoes fall through a grid and are borne away by a side-conveyor. Two men then sort them by hand. The filler keeps piling potatoes onto the ever-growing mountain. It hasn't been a bad harvest, says Farmer Coenegrachts, but not one of the best either. Too much rain in the past few weeks. The harvester has burrowed in the earth for more potatoes and has filled another fifteen-ton tipper. A new tractor drives alongside. Instructions for distributing the load are passed on in sign language from the cabin. A three-man crew drive back and forth. Another few hours and the job is done.
29 OCTOBER – END OF TRIP
Everything has been harvested. Thousands of photos and interesting meetings with the workers and transporters of the Limburg Landscape have been saved. The winter will be used for making a multimedia installation. We hope to have a universally accessible Moving Landscape online by March 2011. But first the completion of the trip will be celebrated with all the land workers and the transporters the 29th October at 15h00. Welcome to FLACC, André Dumontlaan 2, 3600 Genk.