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‘Holland and the Hollanders’ examines Dutch nature and traditions

Immensely enjoyable pictorial book

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ALMERE, the Netherlands - The Netherlands or Holland: A compact, natural and sometimes man-made accumulation of amazing variety. The North Sea coastal country of 16 million people can be traversed by car in a few hours. From east to west or north to south, 'Holland' offers a vast array of landscapes, towns and villages, nature, tourist attractions and yes, also its inhabitants.

A new photo book compiled by Dirk M. de Boer captures that eclectic appeal of the Netherlands. ‘Holland and the Hollanders’ - with text in English - provides a view many visitors are unable to capture themselves, usually because of time restrictions. The camera travels through the entire country and brings a vista of the diversity the Netherlands has to offer - and is happy to show. En route are hundreds of sights, ranging from windswept dunes and frozen lakes to market fairs and flower pageants.

In twelve text chapters - as many as there are provinces in the country - 'Holland and the Hollanders' touches on history, on the weather, on its role in fishing and shipping, on the multitude of castles, on authentic crafts and on... windmills. The Hollanders part of the equation emphasizes on traditional costumes, on cheese making, on agriculture, on the tulip, on greenhouse operations and on skating.


Each chapter or subject provides ample evidence that the country is highly varied. The weather north-to-south (or east-to-west) can be as different in each part as between countries. Fishing is a commercial enterprise on the North Sea, the IJsselmeer and on the Great Rivers, and in many other locations it is practiced as a hobby. Castles, fortresses, and strongholds can be found from Holland to Limburg, from Zeeland to Friesland and from the coast to the border region with Germany.

Traditional crafts and costumes go hand-in-hand and can be seen at the various museum villages throughout the country and in their original settings as well, especially at touristic fairs. Agriculture and horticulture are a large part of the industrious country, where the tulip (imported from Turkey) was first commercially cultivated in the 16th century. The rest as they say, is history.

Each province in the Netherlands, be it the both Hollands (separated in the early 1800s into North and South), Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland, Noord Brabant, Limburg, Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe, Overijssel, or the newest Flevoland (reclaimed from the IJsselmeer) contributes its own uniqueness to the whole. The beach resorts are quite different from the holiday resorts in the woods of Gelderland. The new city of Almere (in Flevoland) is a marvel of modern architecture and the old town of Zierikzee (in Zeeland) breathes 17th century affluence.


Black-and-white cows in a field in Friesland are not any different than similar animals in Noord-Brabant, but the landscape is. The horizon in Groningen seems farther away than the one near the Great Rivers and the woods in Drenthe smell different than those in Utrecht. Even the language, or dialects, can be quite different from one province to the next. Other proof of the vast diversity of the Netherlands, perhaps only visible - or to be experienced - if one takes the time to roam extensively throughout Holland.

For those who on their visits were limited to one area (and alas, sometimes to only one village or town) or for those who want to re-visit parts overlooked earlier, a photo book such as 'Holland and the Hollanders' could whet the appetite for serious exploration. The photos capture images often not seen: casual, in fleeting or otherwise ‘normal’ settings. Put together, they represent a subjective, yet comprehensive view of the Netherlands. A place to visit, again and again but the place to start is on the pages of 'Holland and the Hollanders'.

Hardcover with dustjacket, 440 full colour photographs, 192 pages. English text, coffee table format. Special import at Vanderheide Publishing Co. Ltd. Order yours today.