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ISSUE

128

This week in the Photo of the Week:

"Promised landscape"



photo of this weeks photo of the week


Promised landscape

In high-school I had a geography teacher who once told us, with no small amount of disgust, that every square meter of The Netherlands could be located in spatial planning documents – e-ve-ry square meter.

It is true. We the Dutch have gained serious control over our environment. With nearly half the country below sea-level, and being the 23rd most densely populated country in the world, that control is a basic necessity to ensure the livelihoods of many people.

However, and this is where the teachers aversion stemmed from, we now have so much control over our natural surroundings, that it border on the unnatural - sometimes comical, sometimes horrifying. For example:

Over the past few years the city where I live has attempted to relocate a flock of protected birds that was becoming a nuisance on a specific location. Those birds are now all over the city and also still on their original location. The costly project meanwhile, has been abandoned.

Ecoducts were built all over the country to let wildlife safely cross highways and enlarge their territory. Now a debate is going on whether the narrow passageways might be used to shoot and thereby contain the numbers of the thriving wildlife.

I cannot cut down the tree in my backyard without a permit, should I want to.

When you want to camp “in the wild” you can go to a stretch of forest where a pole in the ground marks where you are allowed to camp. The one where I once spent a night also had a circle of stones ready for a roaring campfire. However, open fire turned out to be prohibited at all times, and yes, someone came by when the smoke of our wet wood start-off was spotted.

There are, of course, other sides to these examples: It is highly unlikely that someone creates an uncontrollable and devastating forest fire. And no one comes to this country to illegally chop down trees for profit, ruining the environment in the process. Also no disastrous flood has occurred since 1953.

Yet it is that geography teacher I think of, when I look at Photo of the Week 128 and read its title. And I wonder what more it will take, before we realize that our spatial planning no longer serves to protect ourselves, but to fulfill the desire to control itself – as it seems to have been doing for some time now.

Text: Peter-Jan Vermeij
Website Peter-Jan (in Dutch)



Shortly before the Dutch author Jan Arends committed suicide jumping from the roof of an appartment building he wrote to a colleague "What I want is talking with someone else. That is not possible. You might as well jump from a rooftop."
He wrote several wonderful (some unfinished) novels during his life that -together with his poetry- gave voice to 'the maroons' of society, as he himself frequently was a patient of mental institutions. Combined with an impecable talent for a down-to-earth, raw style of writing he wrote the most powerful and inspiring verses in his time.
The Dutch band De Kift picked up on that style and amongst other writers incorporated the writing of Jan Arends into a music genre in its own right. This video introduces the two together in a slightly different setting: that of Motion Poetry..
JAN ARENDS | POEZIE | MAARTEN ZEEHANDELAAR | © 2012


Clique this link to see the English version on BluePrint Tube. (Translation: Maarten Zeehandelaar)

© 2013 Maarten Zeehandelaar

Until the next Photo of the Week!

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Texts and photography –unless stated otherwise–
all rights reserved © 2010-2013 Maarten Zeehandelaar

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