Depth of Field, volume 7, no. 1 (December 2015)Maartje van den Heuvel: New ‘Masters’ of Dutch Landscape. Photographs of the Most Man-Made Land in the World

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Extremely controlled nature

The human manipulation of the land not only creates structure for the purpose of industry, trade, or leisure. Emerging from an interest in the over-regulation of the Dutch landscape, Gert Jan Kocken (b. 1971) shows a process of curing of the landscape by human hands in his series Enschede. After the landscape of part of the city of Enschede in the north of the Netherlands was severely damaged by a huge explosion of a fireworks factory on 13 May 2000, Kocken re-photographed the damaged site over the years from 2001 onward, when the event was no longer the focus of photojournalists.[38] The Dutch people’s care for every piece of their land was also the subject of the work Nieuwkomer (Newcomer; 2007-08) by the artist Arnoud Holleman (b. 1964). Holleman, who works as a conceptual artist in various disciplines and techniques, focused on the discussions by all types of related people to the building of two wind turbines in the area between The Hague and Amsterdam, where many, often conflicting, interests are at stake. On the website www.nieuwkomer.nl, Holleman combined photographs of these wind turbines with stories that can be heard by clicking links. Not only do we hear about the conflicting interests and the typical Dutch disputing and compromising (nicknamed ‘poldering’ by the Dutch themselves) between the many involved parties; there are also debates regarding whether these windmills should be seen as beautiful additions to the landscape or not, which depends on whether one views them as successors to the old windmills.[39]