Islands – how do you deal with limitations?

15-07 OerolDo you think of holiday too, when hearing the word ‘island’? I often wonder what’s so special about islands. Some people love them, others hate them.

Island lovers are often charmed by the limitations an island gives. You are bound to the ferry-times for arrival and departure. The number of inhabitants is limited, same for services. On the small Dutch islands you don’t have a hospital. For romantics, life seems so simple on an island. And you have lots of sea with beaches!

Island haters feel locked up when arriving on an island or they find it plain boring. They can’t stand the limitations and the lack of services or the lack of entertainment. You can’t avoid people and you don’t have a choice. You have to adapt to the circumstances, no choice there either. And often besides the beaches, there’s not much to do on an island.

Sometimes limitations can stimulate our creativity. When I did theater lighting I was asked to make a lighting design for a children play. I had 4 players, 5 different situations (lost, swamp, witches, sports, happy end) and only 10 (!) lights. I still think that this was the best light design I’ve ever made! I became more creative by the limitation.

In the Netherlands we have two great music festivals situated on small islands, Oerol (see picture) on Terschelling, Into The Great Wide Open on Vlieland. They sell out every year and it’s a very special kind of festival experience. There’s also G-Fest on the Faeroe Islands. When the weather is bad, bands and audience can’t arrive or depart. The islanders are used to it while it drives many tourmanagers crazy.

I know, there’s no direct link between love/hate of islands and how you deal with limitations. Though I do think that they are somehow linked. I love to stay on an island for a two-week holiday, but I wouldn’t want to live there. In the long run the limitations would make me crazy and I would feel bored. What’s your attitude towards islands?

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