With 'Art on the Meuse', Z33 and RLKM are bringing art to the Limburg Meuse Valley. Five artworks will appear in Dilsen-Stokkem, Kinrooi, Lanaken, Maaseik and Maasmechelen. read more

Maarten Inghels


SAVE OUR SOULS” is a sand sculpture created by Maarten Inghels located on the winter dike in Heppeneert.

Maarten Inghels chose this location in Heppeneert for a specific reason. In 2021, after a prolonged period of heavy rainfall in France and Wallonia, the Maas River threatened to overflow its banks and flood this Limburg pilgrimage site. Emergency services had to reinforce the dike with sandbags to prevent the flooding. Without the river expansion project aimed at preparing the Maas for extreme weather due to climate change, the outcome could have been very different. The SOS distress signal we know from books and movies was thus very close to becoming a reality. Now, from the same dike overlooking the river’s winter bed, you can see a 25-meter-long sand sculpture with the words “SAVE OUR SOULS.” For Inghels, it represents a futile cry for help in times of increasing floods and summer droughts. The fact that the artwork can be flooded or washed away is essential, emphasizing our vulnerability to the immense power of water. It also serves as a reference to the nearby pilgrimage site and church, where the salvation of souls is a central theme.

This project brings together the East and West of Belgium, as Maarten Inghels used Maas River sand, sourced from Kessel in Dutch Limburg, which has a square grain structure ideal for sculptures. This choice connects the two extremes of Belgium, where water serves as a natural boundary. Additionally, it ties into the theme of “building” as part of the art route during the Harlindis & Relindis pilgrimage in Maaseik.

“SAVE OUR SOULS” is part of a series of word images by Maarten Inghels and is his third work related to Belgian rivers. Previously, he sailed on a raft in the shape of the word “WATER” on the Yser River, and he wrote the poem “I follow the river, I am the river” during a journey along the Scheldt River to monitor irregularities and imperfections from its source to its mouth.

The sculpture is located behind the winter dike, opposite the church of Heppeneert, with the address Heppeneert 20, 3680 Maaseik. Parking is available behind the church of Heppeneert. It is also conveniently located near cycling junction 26 and along the red, yellow, and purple hiking routes in the Aldeneik hiking area.

The project is made possible thanks to the support of the city of Maaseik, the Heppeneert community, Bichterweerd nv, and the Vanthoor-Venken family.

BIO Maarten Inghels

SAVE OUR SOULS fits into a series of word pictures by Maarten Inghels. It is his third work on Belgian rivers. Earlier, for ‘A tree a boat a man’, he sailed on a raft in the shape of the word WATER on the Yser from the French-Belgian border to Nieuwpoort by the sea. Inghels also wrote the poem ‘I follow the river, I am the river’ during a hike along the Scheldt to check the flow from source to mouth for irregularities and unevenness.

Locatio: behind winter dyke, opposite Heppeneert church

AdresHeppeneert 20, 3680 Maaseik

Parking: behind the church of Heppeneert

Fiets-en wandelroute: Cycling and walking route: the work of art is close to cycle junction 26 and along the red, yellow and purple walking route of the Aldeneik walking area.

With thanks to the town of Maaseik, community of Heppeneert, Bichterweerd nv and the family Vanthoor-Venken.