Founders of the Taaie Tiller


Volkert van der Wijk, Ph.D.

Sculptor and mechanical engineer

Obtained his doctorate (Cum Laude) on the design of balanced mechanisms and received the Wim van der Hoek DSPE Constructor Award 2008 for excellence in mechanical design engineering. In addition to his artistic work, Volkert van der Wijk is a research fellow at King's College London (UK).

H.J.A. (Henk) Hofland

Journalist, writer, columnist

Journalist, writer, columnist, essayist, etc. of a.o. NRC-handelsblad and De Groene Amsterdammer. In 2011 Henk Hofland recieved the prestigious P.C. Hooft-price and in 2001 he received an honory doctorate of the Maastricht University (NL).


Origination of the Taaie Tiller

In 2002 Henk Hofland was an invited guest-writer at the Delft University of Technology. In his lectures he introduced the concept of the Sisyphus machine, a machine that driven by wind lifts a rock from the water, brings it up in the air and then has it fall, splash in the water, to subsequently grasp it and start the cycle all over again and again. A machine that encourages the spectator to never give up hope. As a student at the Delft University of Technology, Volkert van der Wijk took part in these lectures. The aim was to design such a Sisyphus machine and at the end of the lectures already a modest series of prototypes were presented.   

In the subsequent years Volkert van der Wijk continued the design of new Sisyphus machines. These were exposed, among others, at the exposition The world of Henk Hofland in the Press-museum Amsterdam in 2003, with as a showpiece De Mazzelaar.

A Sisyphus machine cannot be small of size. It has to impress, to overwhelm. None of the small prototypes showed suitable for an impressively sized machine. Therefore in 2006 Volkert van der Wijk invented the Taaie Tiller, a machine consisting of a four-bar mechanism as a grasper with which the load is taken from the water and raised straight up.

The Taaie Tiller was depicted in the media and various companies offered their help. Because of this cooperation the conceptual design could be worked out into a technically feasible construction. In 2011 the Taaie Tiller became part of education at the University of Twente (NL). About 115 mechanical engineering students did calculations and designing of the machine. Since May 2014 Volkert van der Wijk works on the preparations for building the large Taaie Tiller and with the production of a Taaie Tiller that is 6 times smaller. This 7 meters long and 4.3 meters wide Taaie Tiller lifts 300 kg 3 meters above the water and will be finished in the beginning of 2017. Then it will be opened at the campus of the University of Twente.

The Taaie Tiller is supported by:


The Taaie Tiller is a moving sculpture (kinetic art) driven by windpower and waterpower - go-getter that doesn't know of stopping - drama and delight - swelling excitement and smashing sensation - center of attention



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Volkert van der Wijk