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Spreeuwendans / Protterdûns

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An exhibition with photographs of starling swarms by Erik Hijweege, complemented by collection and activities for children.

A new exhibition opens at Natuurmuseum Fryslân in Leeuwarden on 30 September: Starling Dance / Protterdûns by photographer Erik Hijweege. This exhibition features photographs of swarms of starlings above the Frisian landscape. Starling swarms are dynamic works of art that constantly take different forms: a whale changes into a duck, the duck changes into a seal. At the same time, each individual starling in the pictures is razor-sharp. With several starlings from the museum collection and activities for children, the biology behind the special swarming behaviour of starlings is also explained.

Threatening skies
Erik Hijweege likes to chase storms. In the United States, he spent years travelling around as a tornado chaser, taking impressive photos of the ominous skies and the natural violence they foreshadow. In corona time, when travelling was not possible, he became intrigued by other menacing skies, namely those of starling clouds and swarms.

Natural extravaganza
In 2020, Hijweege trekked through the Frisian winter landscape to capture the starling dance. Starlings are known to gather here in large groups of tens or sometimes hundreds of thousands of birds. Their evening flights are a fascinating spectacle. The flocks fan out, then condense again and sweep through the airspace like a brush across a canvas. Hijweege himself describes the air show as a "poetic choreography".

There are not only pictures of starling swarms on display at the Natuurmuseum. Several starlings from the museum collection can be admired, such as a special splendid starling and an albino one. It also turns out that an ordinary starling has more colours than you would think at first sight. Visitors can experience how well starlings can imitate other sounds and what it is like to keep an eye on seven of their own kind.

About Erik Hijweege
Erik Hijweege has been photographing since 1998 and is guided by his fascination with natural phenomena. He has had several solo exhibitions at home, as well as in the United States, Russia and France, and participated in group exhibitions is Luxembourg, Sweden and Brazil, among others. Much of his work has come out in book form and a companion book to Starling Dance has also been published. It can be bought for €28.95 in the museum shop.

Spreeuwendans / Protterdûns can be seen from 30 September 2023 to 7 January 2024 at Natuurmuseum Fryslân,

until 7 January
Price information:
From € 6,50 (for children)
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Here you will find Spreeuwendans / Protterdûns

Schoenmakersperk 2
8911EM Leeuwarden
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