Skip to main content

Broken Jug

Discover world-famous artist Frank Stella and one of his masterpieces: the Broken Jug. The sculpture is a large, impressive piece of landscape art that is impossible to miss. Its exuberant shapes catch your eye from afar. What makes the Broken Jug even more special, is that it is illuminated based on the tide. The influence of the low tide and high tide is visualised on the sculpture, which creates a wondrous spectacle. The artwork can be admired at the front of the long-term car park, close to the Tjerk Hiddessluizen (the locks). There, on Harlingerstraatweg, it serves as a 'gateway to the city'. With the placement of the Broken Jug, Harlingen, Northwest Friesland and the province of Friesland have an exciting new landmark.

About Frank Stella

The American artist Frank Stella is renowned for his minimalist paintings and three-dimensional works. His work has been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as well as in Europe and Asia. In 2009, he received the National Medal of Arts from then president-elect Barack Obama. He is seen as an important, trend-setting artist. His artworks (of which Broken Jug is one) are exhibited in various places around the world, such as Toronto, Los Angeles and Singapore. In 2019, Frank Stella visited Harlingen and was shown around by the then mayor of Harlingen, Roel Sluiter. At that time he was sure that Harlingen, where land and sea meet, would be a beautiful location for his artwork. It reminded him of the place where he grew up.

Frank Stella's biography and works of art

"I grew up in a place with the water like this in America, Massachusetts."

- Frank Stella, 2019

Broken Jug

Frank Stella has put a lot of time and passion into creating the Broken Jug. The artist used metal materials for the sculpture that stands 14 metres tall and weighs 45 tonnes. Initially, the artwork was to be placed near a stadium in Miami, but there was no enthusiasm for it there. After an attempt to display it in the French town of Cherbourg, where the high costs proved to be an obstacle, the work of art was to be shipped back to the United States via Harlingen. In our port city, it was polished to perfection for the journey home, but when Joop Mulder got involved, everything changed.

View here how the Broken Jug was installed

Sense of Place

Joop Mulder (1953 - 2021) was the founder of the Oerol Festival on Terschelling and the artistic director of Sense of Place. Sense of Place aims to make the wider public aware of the unique values of the landscape, flora and fauna and cultural history of UNESCO World Heritage Site the Wadden Sea region, and does so through cultural landscape projects. Joop Mulder wanted to integrate the artwork into the story of Sense of Place, and contacted the municipality of Harlingen and Súdwest-Fryslân. His idea was to place the Broken Jug along the sea dyke, near Harlingen. The mayor and aldermen of Harlingen made every effort to keep the Broken Jug in Harlingen. After the approval of the council (and in agreement with Frank Stella), the work of art was eventually placed at the front of the long-term car park for island visitors. With this, Mulder’s dream had finally been fulfilled; the Broken Jug had been sitting in Harlingen's industrial harbour for over two years. In October 2021, the sculpture got its permanent place in Harlingen.

More info about Sense of Place