Can you have too many coffee table books of photos of the Netherlands? Probably not.
Frans Lemmens‘ beautiful book is a photographic journey through the country over the space of a year, taking you from sandbanks in the Wadden Sea to the vineyards and marl mines of Limburg.
You will find all the cliches – tulips, windmills and cheese, as well as snow and skating – alongside Kings’ Day and Pride. But you will also come across the Netherlands’ industrial heritage, the steam pumps that drained the swamps, shipbuilding, and two swans on the beach, watching a chemical tanker on its way.
Lemmen’s photography shows the surprising patterns in the landscapes, in the long, thin islands left behind after peat cutting and in the rows of identical houses with identical solar panels on their roofs.
The Netherlands too, is a country of contrasts – with its tiny beach houses overshadowed by a giant cruise ship and modern architecture and sleepy villages in the morning mist.
It is easy to skip the texts in a photo book, but Lemmen’s captions contain fascinating nuggets of information and are well worth reading. In all, a great gift for new arrivals and people who are leaving – and everyone else in between.
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