For a quarter of a century, artist Søren Poulsen worked tirelessly and meticulously on a project inspired by his work on the drainage system in the meadows surrounding Denmark’s Lake Klejtrup. One day, he found a stone shaped like Jutland, the large peninsula separating the North and Baltic seas. By manipulating the land around the banks of the lake, and using materials such as stones, grass and soil, Poulsen spent 25 years (1944-1969) creating a giant map of the world using nothing but the land and nature surrounding him.
The project took so long because Poulsen did it solo, and only during his spare time. This resulted in most of the work being done during winter when he was able to push big stones onto the lake that had frozen over. When the warm, spring temperatures hit, the lake would thaw and the stones would settle into place in the mud below.
Poulsen used a wheelbarrow and primitive to tools to craft a remarkably accurate map of our world. The attention to detail is marvelous – Poulsen’s map is built entirely to scale, with one degree of latitude corresponding to 11 inches on the map, which in total measures in at 49 by 98 yards (roughly 4,000 square feet). With that size and scale, the map is completely traversable, and visitors from all over the world come to marvel at Poulsen’s stunning creation.
The map technically enables people to travel from continent to continent in a matter of seconds, proving to be a wonderful and luring attraction. Unfortunately, Poulsen died shortly after his project’s completion in 1969, never able to witness just how much awe and wonder his life’s work would elicit. Still, his legacy has been cemented not only with his world map project, but also with his amazing work ethic.
All images courtesy of Frank Vincentz/Wikimedia