30 Jun 2023

The Waterworks of Money

By Martijn van Der Linden

For the past 2,5 years, I (Martijn van der Linden, PhD., professor New Finance and founding board member of foundation Ons Geld) have collaborated with cartographer Carlijn Kingma and financial investigative journalist Thomas Bollen on mapping our money system and visualizing alternatives with the objective to increase financial literacy.  Although money plays a key role in our lives, the workings of our monetary and financial system are a mystery to most of us. ‘The Waterworks of Money’ is an attempt to demystify this world.

We started mapping in the beginning of 2020. The first 14 months, we researched, interviewed more than 100 experts – ranging from central bank governors and board members of pension funds and banks to politicians and monetary activists, made hundreds of sketches and verified those sketches with all parties and companies involved in the money system. Thereafter, the drawing of the map started. Drawing the map took over 2200 hours, and was done in a little less than five months. In this period, we also developed the stories for the video animations.

With the help of many international partners and contributors, we launched the first chapter in Dutch at Follow the Money in our home country the Netherlands in October 2022. Our first Dutch-language publication won a journalistic prize and was nominated for another one a few months ago. The works of art were exhibited from 16 October 2022 until 29 January 2023 at Rijksmuseum Twenthe, and are currently on view in the exhibition ‘The Future of Money’ at the KunstMuseum The Hague (14 April, 2023 until 8 September 2023),  one of the leading museums in the Netherlands. An enlarged copy of the artwork is momentarily on display at the lobby of the Dutch Ministry of Finance and at Rabobank. Moreover, the works were exhibited at several festivals and educational institutes, and we gave tens of talks and organized tens of workshops based on the maps and Dutch animations last year.

Recently, we went international. Since May 20, the waterworks is the centerpiece at the Dutch Pavilion of the Architecture Biennale of Venice, and on June 14, we published the English video animation of ‘The Waterworks of Money’ (part I, part II will be published at the end of the summer):


More information about the waterworks of money, you find on our website:


Coming months, we will animate three future scenario’s, one of them ‘the valley of debt-free money’. More to come!


Martijn Jeroen van der Linden (PhD) is professor of  New Finance at The Hague University of Applied Sciences and a founding member of the Dutch movement for monetary reform ‘Ons Geld’. For the last 2.5 year, he collaborated with cartographer Carlijn Kingma and investigative journalist Thomas Bollen to map, visualise and animate the money system.