The 7 Trolls and the Magical Tower

They had seen civilizations crumble and new rise from the dirt!

In 2018, I was invited to Boom, Belgium. There’s a public park there called De Schorre, where the Tomorrowland music festival is held every year. The park is in a huge old clay quarry and now offers a little bit of everything. There’s a big hill where you can roll down on an off-road skateboard, and there’s a lake with boats for sailing. There’s a playground and a minigolf course and a lot of other things, including a big old forest. The festival is called Tomorrowland, and it has a lot of fairy tale themes, so they thought that I could maybe do one of my troll projects in the forest. It would be viewed at the festival, but it would also be there the rest of the year to give something back to the people of Boom, who get swarmed every year with over 600,000 festival goers.

When we got to Boom to scout the site, I started investigating right away. I went on all the paths in the forest, into all the bushes, and over all the hills. In the middle of the forest, I found a big hill. Instantly, I felt like I should make a tower there. I sat down and wrote the first lines of a poem about how ancient trolls had seen the little humans destroy the planet and therefore decided to build a tower so the humans could come up and see the world from a troll’s perspective – so they could see the big picture and understand that their actions had consequences. I called my studio and explained the idea to my crew. It always helps me to have someone to talk to, because I make up the stories as I tell them. Back in Denmark, they liked the concept, so I walked over to present it for the festival. They liked it, too.

The next day, I set out to find the locations of the trolls. I wanted to find something hidden, something you couldn’t see from the path. At some point, I came down a little tiny path to an azure blue lake. The lake was a hundred meters wide, and all I could think was, Wow! The far side of the lake was perfect for a troll. But when I started trying to get over there, I realized it was a big swamp I’d have to cross, and the only way to get where I needed to go was heading twenty-five meters down a hill on a forty-five-degree slope. It was a crazy steep slope. The kind that only exists because it’s been dug out – in this case, back when De Schorre was a clay pit. But, of course, next to this incredible lake was where the troll had to be. The magic of my art is that I build it in those special places, the ones that leave people wondering how it got there. I want traveling to a troll to be an adventurous experience – a little like climbing a mountain or hiking off-trail.

They were seven good friends both together and alone
by the river in the valley in the forest they had home
they had seen the sun set and rise a million times
the seven trolls stood as tall as the pines

Una and Joures were friends for life and like to lay in the grass
watching the skies crawl by telling stories about the past
Mikil was strong as a dragon and always on his way
Kamiel was wearing a mask a new for every day

Arvid like to carve his dreams into ancient trees
Hannes to put pearls on a string for everyone to see
and little Nora had only seen the sun rise around a million times
she was still a growing troll with her tail and young mind

They could see past the forest to where the future emerged
they had seen civilizations crumble and new rise from the dirt
they had seen the mountains grow turn to ice melt and burn
seen the fish turn to birds and seen the continents turn

And now they saw these little people with actions so great
It could break what forever and ever had made
And the trolls got afraid life should never be borrowed
It was meant to be shared with the day of tomorrow

So the seven trolls gathered up on a mountain top
To find a new way the old way of now had to stop
and Kamiel spoke up – we must help them get better
the little people mean good but they are too young to be clever

Let’s build them a tower as tall as a troll
and show them all beings are one in the soul
It took them all winter by summer it was done
they then invited all the little people to come

And the little people walked to the top where they opened their eyes
and saw past the forests the mountains and skies
they saw to the future with tears in their eyes
what they saw no one knows but the eyes never lie

Una and Joures


Little Nora



Kamiel and The Magical Tower