About art and landscape

From 1984 I have worked on the quality of the Dutch landscape in various functions. I regularly had the opportunity to comment on landscape and to give lectures. For me the relationship with art was obvious.

In 1994 I gave a lecture at Kasteel Groeneveld about ‘Landschap als Spiegel van de Cultuur’ (landscape as a mirror of culture). This lecture was published in 1994 in the ‘Blauwe Kamer Profiel’. Based on a survey of landscape in the art from the Middle Ages to our own time, I stressed the need to integrate distance and proximity. In this respect the work of Cézanne was the most appropriate example.


For a number of years I have written articles for the magazine ‘Vruchtbare Aarde’ (fertile earth), one of which was a review about the exhibition ‘Langs Velden en Wegen’ (along fields and roads) in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The exhibition gave a picture of the Dutch landscape painting in the 18th and 19th century. It was a great opportunity to connect my knowledge of landscape with that of painting.


In 1998 I was asked to write a chapter in the book ‘Landschap in Meervoud –perspectieven op het Nederlandse landschap van de 20ste en 21ste eeuw ’(landscape in plural – perspectives on the Dutch landscape in the 20ste/21ste century). In the essay  ‘Landschap, Verbinding tussen Verleden en Toekomst (landscape, connection between past and future) I elaborated on the message of the lecture Landscape as a Mirror of Culture. I called for the necessity of dealing carefully with the structures from the past without denying the characteristics of modern developments. Essential is a good dialogue between those two.

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In 1997 I designed, on behalf of the Association Landscape’s  Ecological Research on the occasion of their 25th anniversary, a land art project in the ‘Eilandspolder’ in the province of North Holland. It was a temporary project, in which some 80 Dutch and foreign experts on landscape wrote their message to the landscape of the Eilandspolder on white flags. The flags were planted in the direction of the countries where the participants came from. By doing so I wanted to express how close the connection with a landscape can be for people, even if they come from faraway countries with very different cultures. The project was discussed in 2000 in the book From Landscape Ecology to Landscape Science.


In 2005 the landscape architect and aerial photographer Peter van Bolhuis died, unexpectedly. In my Groeneveld period I had made several exhibitions with him. In his aerial photographs he combined his great knowledge of the Dutch landscape with a particular sensitivity for composition and light effect. His aerial photographs of the Dutch landscape are unparalleled. In 2010, the book ‘Bevlogen Landschap / Soaring Landscapes was published for which I wrote the essay ‘Life on the Border of Land and Water’.

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