Troll Hunting at Tomorrowland

Come with Bumi and his Lenses as he hunts for trolls in the sacred lands of electronic-music enthusiasts!

Come with Bumi and his Lenses as he hunts for trolls in the sacred lands of electronic-music enthusiasts!

What is the first thing that you do when you know you’re going abroad? 

I’m going to be blunt here: I find places to visit through Instagram. 

As an active Instagram user, I know that people tend share their highly edited photos in their accounts — pictures that end up looking nothing like what their real life form. Have you ever came across a photo of a couple holding hands at Taj Mahal as if it’s a pre-wedding photoshoot with absolutely no one behind them? Most likely edited. However, despite sounding like a total purist who is against everything edited, I must admit that those travel accounts do give you some valuable information about where to go and also the possibilities of the angle when taking the shot.

Mikil, the gentle troll that makes sure his friends never run out of water

And that is how my adventure in Belgium came to happen. I stumbled upon this account called @amazing_belgium, and oddly they did this post that looks like nothing that I have seen before. Apparently, there is this odd place in Belgium where you can see a giant wooden troll. Not the internet trolls, of course. Trolls as in those gigantic and monstrous beings that dwell in isolated areas of rocks, mountains, or caves (according to Nordic mythology). Although the description doesn’t seem very promising, I still decided that the place is worth visiting, and off I go to embark on my journey to the heart of the forest, gleaming with hope to see these magical (and friendly-looking) trolls. 

Little Nora and her hobby to collect magical stones

To find the trolls, you must visit their home: De Schorre Provinciaal Recreatiedomein. The journey to their humble home is quite easy. The area is accessible by train, but make sure to wear the appropriate shoes as the path to find these trolls can be very muddy. 

Anyways, enough about the train, I want to talk about the trolls’ home: De Schorre Provinciaal Recreatiedomein (try saying that three times). While the name sounds foreign to the common ear, it is actually a place that most of you are familiar of. Have you ever heard of the electrifying festival called Tomorrowland? Apparently, that major dance music festival shares a home with these trolls, and might as well be the reason why those trolls exist!

Una and Joures lay down on the grass as they watch the sky and reminisce about the past 

These trolls were made out of recycled wood by the Danish artist Thomas Dambo in 2019 to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Tomorrowland. His unique troll sculptures are scattered from Ohio to Beijing with each unique story behind them. The ones in Belgium are quite unique as they seven to eighteen meters tall, and they have been bestowed with unique names and backstories.

There are seven trolls in De Schorre, and at first, finding them might seem pretty daunting. There is no exact guide to find the seven trolls (Mikil, Kamiel, Arvid, Hannes, little Nora, Una, and Joures). There is also no ‘right way’ to approach De Schorre’s quiet residents, meaning you are free to visit them in a random order — if you find them, that is. After traversing through the forest amid Belgium’s cold winter, my friend and I managed to find all of them within 3 hours of strolling around the park. Turns out, the trips was not that hard after all. Out of the seven inhabitors, I can’t help but fall in love with Kamiel, the guardian of the magic tower that speaks all languages of the animals, as he embodies my desire to be a polyglot one day.

Kamiel, the guardian of the Magical Tower

Despite of having a wonderful time befriending trolls and woodland critters alike, I don’t think that that was the main reason for my smile throughout the ride home. I came to realize that the Belgians did something right by creating De Schorre. I believe that having a huge accessible public park that still has a forest, lake, and trolls is essential to the surrounding society’s sanity. Public parks are vitally important to establishing and maintaining the quality of life in a community, ensuring the health of families and youth, and contributing to the economic and environmental well-being of a community and a region. It is something that I wish Jakarta had more of as it would really do us more good to have a healthy public space to socialize in. Also, It is a perfect place to take a break from bustling city life and find serenity, all accompanied by these magical trolls. 

The old and wise Arvid telling the story about the voyagers of the past

Created by: Christophorus Ariobumi Praditya

Bumi is an award-winning troll hunter with various experiences in the field of hiking and exploring. He can be found in your nearest coffee shop studying, working, or making his plan to go to the Annapurna Base Camp or Tromsø. 

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