De Drie Wijsneuzen van De Panne, 2018

With only a pedestal for a body and their identical faces, De Drie Wijsneuzen van De Panne (‘Three Wise Noses of De Panne’) withstand weather and wind. With their monolithic posture, they tower over the coastline. They are part of a tradition of realistic public sculptures that have a heroic function, like the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, the Cristo Redentor in Rio De Janeiro or the ancient Colossus of Rhodes. They stand there as protectors or guardian angels of all seafarers, as symbolic defenders of a harbour or coastal city. They are statues that initially served as a welcome beacon or signpost, and over time have become tourist attractions, no longer just a waymark but a destination in their own right.

Originally, ‘wijsneus’ was a popular term in Dutch for a learned or wise person; today, the word is used to refer to a know-it-all who confuses wisdom with haughtiness. With De Drie Wijsneuzen van De Panne, Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys have combined the original meaning with a purely literal interpretation: the ‘ways’ of the nose. After all, our surest guide is always to follow our nose: as banal and humorous as it is fundamental and invincible. The ‘wise ones’ gaze over each other’s heads in the direction of England, France and the interior respectively, with their eye focused on infinity. The thoughts, observations and enigmatic knowledge of their giant brains extend presumably in the direction of those three regions, but reach much further still.


Harald Thys (rechts) en Jos de Gruyter (links)Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys

°1965 Geel
°1966 Wilrijk

Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys have recently had solo exhibitions at the Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark (2018), Kunstverein München, Germany (2017), Milan Triennale, Italy (2017), MOMA PS1, New York, United States and Mu.Zee in Ostend (2012). They also participated in group exhibits including The Absent Museum, Wiels, Brussels (2017); The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th Biennale de Arte, Venice, Italy (2013). In 2011 they received the Flanders Culture Prize for the Visual Arts.


Beach at Canadezenplein, De Panne

  • Tram stop: De Panne Golfstraat
  • Cycling node: 76 
  • Walking node: 24

Download the free Beaufort overview map, order online in our webshop or pick one up from one of the tourist information offices on the Coast.

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