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Saturday 20 December  
Dutch lowlands from the air
Hilversum, Netherlands
Hilversum, Netherlands

Dutch lowlands from the air

Published on : 29 November 2011 - 3:59pm | By Peter Hooghiemstra (Photo: Siebe Swart, Huis Marseille)
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It doesn’t get any Dutcher than this: the aerial photographs of Siebe Swart showing land that, without human intervention, would have been under water. Swart captured the most vulnerable locations of the “best-protected delta in the world”.

The photographer zooms in on those parts of the Netherlands that would flood if there weren’t any dykes, dams and sluices. Swart is in search of “the human hand” in the landscape. He shows places with “scars” caused by floods, places where the fragile balance between land and water still plays a crucial role every day.

Swart’s photos are taken from a helicopter, at an altitude of around 90 metres. They are snapshots in time of an ever-changing landscape. Because if the sea level rises due to global warming, more human intervention will be needed in future.

Het Lage Land (The Low Land) is a new book with Siebe Swart’s aerial photos of the Dutch lowlands.

(Click on small pictures to stop slideshow)

  • The Schelphoek nature reserve resulted from the 1953 North Sea Flood. The caisson that closed the breach in the dike can still be seen in the landscape. On the right, creeks that remained after the flooding. On the left, the remains of a temporary harbour.<br>&copy; Photo: Siebe Swart, Huis Marseille -
  • Kinderdijk, Zuid Holland, 2009. Windmills used for pumping the water out of the nearby polder and maintaining the water level. The 19 windmills group is listed on UNESCO&#039;s  World Heritage List.<br>&copy; Photo: Siebe Swart, Huis Marseille -
  • At Noorderleeg, on the border between solid ground and the Wadden Sea, land reclamation and coastal protection is being undertaken in polder and salt marsh areas outside the sea dikes. The `salt marsh works’ consist of rectangles bordered by wooden stakes between which brushwood is woven.<br>&copy; Photo: Siebe Swart, Huis Marseille -
  • Part of the existing main dike, the Brummense Banddijk will be partly levelled so that high water can flow straight on, effectively lowering high water levels. Existing building will be protected by a new dike inland.<br>&copy; Photo: Siebe Swart, Huis Marseille -
  • The Houtrib Dike connects Enkhuizen with Lelystad, separating Marker Lake (left) and the IJssel Lake (right). The Houtrib Dike was originally constructed to polder the Marker Lake. These plans were never realised.<br>&copy; Photo: Siebe Swart, Huis Marseille -
  • Noordoostpolder, formerly Zuiderzeedijk, Overijssel, 2010. The regular plots of the new North-East Polder (left) contrast with those of the old land.<br>&copy; Photo: Siebe Swart, Huis Marseille -



Anonymous 1 December 2011 - 7:12am / Canada

Absolutely stunning photography. Those aerial shots capture so well the vulnerability of the land. Constantly keeping up with mother nature’s whims is a feat of ingenuity the Dutch people have reason to be proud of. Now let’s hope the rest of humanity wakes up before the earth’s poles start to melt. Thank you, Mr. Siebe Swart, for this wonderful, albeit too short tour of Dutch wonderland. These pictures are what dreams are made of.

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