passing the time.


Time is important at an airport, with thousands of people running back and forth trying to get their plane on time. This is why most airports are full of clocks everywhere, helping to guide harried travelers. Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands is no exception, but it offers a twist: a giant clock that appears as if a man is busy painting it real time, minute by minute. 

Schiphol Clock

It appears as if a man is standing behind this giant airport clock, painting the hands in real time. The painter is actually a 12-hour-long recording, that gives a convincing illusion that a human is standing inside the translucent clock, busy at work as the hands go around. This creative timepiece is the latest work of Maarten Baas, a well-known Dutch artist and designer that has a series of similar live clock recordings.

The Schiphol Airport clock was created by Baas in 2016. The man inside the clock is wearing blue overalls and has a yellow rag in his pocket. This, together with his red bucket, is meant to be an homage to the famous Dutch artist Mondrian.

The clock can be seen in the airport’s International terminal, so it is only visible to people leaving the European Union via Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, located in the International terminal.

we say that time passes, time goes by, and time flows.

those are metaphors.

we also think of time as a medium in which we exist.

-james gleick



sources: atlas obscura, dutch design daily

33 responses »

  1. This is a truly fascinating and quite wonderful story. THank You so much. And it goes very well with Dave’s post of today too…..
    Also: Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted. Told to us by John Lennon…. They could do more than playing and singing!!!!
    I’m a great defender of ‘time’ in all it’s dimensions. I am always ahead of my departures when travelling, because I love wasting that extra time in a cafeteria, watching people, reading a book, meeting with friends in the area (happily they love to come and chat with me)….
    If you love those clocks, you MUST check out the beauty at Gare de Lyon, Paris and also, being Swiss, I own my very own ‘Swiss Station watch’, a wrist watch with a really red leather band and a red dotted ‘seconds hand’ – a fascinating thing of beauty

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I just was wondering why I’ve never noticed it since we always go through Amsterdam when we travel to Europe. It’s because I haven’t been since it was put up. Now I have something to look for and forward to next time I head across the pond! Great clock and post, Beth! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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