The period in which I was director of ‘Kasteel Groeneveld’ in Baarn, from 1999 to 2007, I consider to be the highlight of my career. In this ‘national center for forest, nature and landscape’ I could express my love of landscape and art in many ways. ‘Kasteel Groeneveld’ was part of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. I developed a concept for the Castle with the mission “Castle Groeneveld wants to move people in such a way that they feel responsible for landscape and nature.” In this concept we were looking for the dialogue between government policy, science, art and society. We developed exhibitions, debates, lectures, educational programmes, events, etc. all aimed at creating the major challenges facing the Netherlands in shaping and managing its space.
From 1999 onward we have published the Groeneveld Journal. In this magazine, published three to four times a year we supplied background information on the exhibitions and debates. One of these Journals was dedicated to the annual Groeneveld lecture. For each Journal I wrote the foreword and an occasional article. The foreword to the Groeneveld Journal of spring 2006 gives a good picture of my love of the vegetable garden.
With Hank Kune, the spiritual father of the Future Centre concept in the Netherlands, I wrote a chapter for the collection ‘Fysica van Samenwerking II– Krachtenfusie in de Inrichting van Nederland (physics of cooperation – power fusion in the establishment of the Netherlands) in 2006. In this book, produced by ‘Rijkswaterstaat’, the emphasis was laid on new forms of cooperation with the aim of tackling the major challenges for the Dutch society in a better way. Our contribution was entitled ‘Oorden van Verbinding – Kasteel Groeneveld als voorbeeld’ (resorts of connection – Castle Groeneveld as an example). It is a nice summary of what I had in mind for ‘Kasteel Groeneveld’.
In November 2006, on parting as director of Kasteel Groeneveld, I made an installation titled ‘Drie vragen van Gauguin – een Reflectie op Kasteel Groeneveld als Oord van Verbinding’ (three questions of Gauguin – a reflection of Sim Visser on Kasteel Groeneveld as a resort of connection). In this installation, I expressed the ideas from the essay that I wrote with Hank Kune. It focused on the three questions of Gauguin, which he put on his large canvas from 1897: D’ou venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Ou allons-nous? (Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going to?)