It seems as if the Netherlands has learned how to protect itself against the destructive force of the sea. We have strong dikes and ingenious feats of engineering and construction. But, thankfully, this doesn’t mean we have the sea and the wind under control. Storms and spring tides still exist and several times a year there are warnings of extreme weather along the coast.

For me, the little island of Schiermonnikoog is an ideal spot to feel the power and dynamism of the sea and wind first hand, especially during a storm. On the beach, everything seems to be in motion. Sand flies around and it is almost impossible to keep still. With a mixture of fascination and respect I look at the wild waves, which only seem to be getting higher. The clouds race over at breakneck speed. The light changes every minute and I am regularly pounded by powerful hailstorms. At the end of the day I am soaked through, numb, and everything is covered in sand. The day after everything is calm again, but the traces of the storm are still clearly visible in the sand.