2020 Open Days at Broken Circle/Spiral Hill

Holt/Smithson Foundation, in collaboration with Land Art Contemporary and CBK Emmen, is pleased to announce in 2020 four Open Days at Robert Smithson’s Broken Circle/Spiral Hill (1971). Broken Circle/Spiral Hill is the only earthwork by Smithson located outside the United States. Located in a former sand mine in Emmen, part of the province of Drenthe in the Netherlands, Broken Circle/Spiral Hill was commissioned for the 1971 exhibition Sonsbeek: Beyond the Pale.

The geological and industrial history of the region drew Smithson to this particular location. Smithson was fascinated by the constructed landscape of the Netherlands. The mine quarry was cut into the side of a terminal moraine, the very edge of glacial movement. Broken Circle/Spiral Hill is visionary in its attention to ecological concerns and the potential of land reclamation.

Broken Circle/Spiral Hill is an artwork of two parts. Broken Circle is a semi-circular jetty built into the quarry lake, filled with reflecting green water. Spiral Hill rises into a cone-shaped hill beside the lake, and a spiraling path leads to the top from where Broken Circle can be observed. At the center is an immovable huge boulder deposited by the ancient glacial movements.

Each Open Day invites a guest speaker to introduce Broken Circle/Spiral Hill and its contexts.
Limited places are available: booking is essential

Saturday July 4, 2020:
Steven Van Teeseling, General Director of Sonsbeek Foundation [Dutch]

[rescheduled from April, new date to be confirmed soon]:
Lisa Le Feuvre, Executive Director of Holt/Smithson Foundation [English]

Saturday September 5, 2020:
Hans den Hartog Jager, Artistic Director of Into Nature [Dutch]

Saturday October 31, 2020:
Anne Reenders, program director of Land Art Contemporary [Dutch]

Email with the date you would like to attend. Tickets are € 10. A bus will take visitors to the site from the meeting point, and refreshments will be served. At the meeting point Nancy Holt’s film Breaking Ground: Broken Circle/Spiral Hill (1971-2011) will be screened.

We wish to thank Province of Drenthe, Municipality of Emmen, and the landowners for their generous cooperation and hospitality.

Robert Smithson, Broken Circle/Spiral Hill (1971)
Emmen, the Netherlands

© Holt/Smithson Foundation, Licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York

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Visiting earthworks by Holt and Smithson

Earthworks and public sculpture by Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson are located in both the United States and in Europe. Some visits require advance booking as the artworks are sited on private land. In these cases appointments are essential.

When visiting, please respect the environment and leave no trace of your visit. For more information and for image permissions be in touch with us at