Where the City Meets the Polder

By Ruben

THE NETHERLANDS – In most countries, the spaces between buildings get gradually bigger as you move further out of a city, while the buildings themselves get gradually smaller before giving way to the countryside. But in the Netherlands, cities just suddenly stop. People who live on the edge of town often live in some of highest buildings in that town, but see cows grazing happily in a uniformly green field when they look out of their window.

There are various reasons why this is like this. To the east of Utrecht, it’s because of a network of forts and installations called De Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie. This was built to allow flooding of certain areas in case of war, and the land in question was strategic and therefore could not be built on.

I have long memories of this area. Of cycling along Gageldijk, which separates the city from the polders (area where water levels can be controlled) to the east. Of going swimming in Maarsseveenseplassen on hundreds of summer days. Or of going with my dad to buy cheese at a farm in sight of the 1960’s high-rise district of Overvecht. Both the farmer’s accent and lifestyle were totally different from that of the city.

1. 2006-09-24
Near Tienhoven, about 10 kilometers north of Overvecht
2. 2006-09-24
The radio and television tower in Hilversum (the centre of Dutch media where I had no idea I would ever live when I made this picture)
3. 2005-12-25
I often went on the same walk in Tienhoven with my dad and sister on christmas day
4. 2005-12-25
5. 2005-12-25
6. 2005-12-25
Tienhoven is on the southern shores of Loosdrechtse Plassen, a series of lakes that were created by digging peat for fuel
7. 2005-12-09
The kind of tree which you see here near Blauwkapel is called a Knotwilg, and is typical of polder landscapes. These willows have this shape because thick branches are trimmed frequently
8. 2005-12-09
9. 2005-12-09
De Hooge Kamp
10. 2005-12-09
11. 2005-12-09
The railway from Utrecht to Amsersfoort
12. 2005-12-09
13. 2005-12-09
One of many German WW2 bunkers in the area
14. 2005-12-09
Looking towards the Utrecht neighbourhood of Tuindorp, which is where I grew up
15. 2005-12-09
The road around Fort Blauwkapel
16. 2005-12-09
Looking the other way, the railway line from Hilversum shortly before it joins the one from Amersfoort
17. 2005-12-09
A level crossing I crossed very often as a child
This entry was posted in De Bilt, Stichtse Vecht, The Netherlands, Utrecht, Utrecht (province)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: