The Netherlands – Off the shelf by photographer Hans van der Meer is a project about typically Dutch small towns such as Lisse, Raalte, Drunen, Boskoop and Nieuw Vennep. Not metropolises but not villages either, these are places that may appear horribly mediocre to some but to others offer the highest possible quality of life.

Over the years, ambitious architects, retailers, policymakers and property developers have rearranged and reconstructed these towns. Arguably, not all these attempts at spatial planning have been successful. In this environment, regulations, prudence, taste and coincidence jostle for prominence. The result is a fascinating compromise of different interests and approaches; an elusive mix that places familiar human behaviour within a theatre of contrasting architecture. Small towns that adopt the aspirations of cities – marketing slogans suggesting a great experience, an amazing future or outstanding business opportunities – appeal strongly to Van der Meer. In The Netherlands – Off the shelf, he captures this world from a stepladder, revealing the decor of people’s lives as if seeing it for the first time.

Authors

Hans van der Meer (b. 1955) studied photography at MTS in The Hague, followed by a residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. He is probably best known for his series on amateur football, Dutch Fields (1998) and European Fields (2006, published by Steidl/MACK). In 2009, Camera Austria hosted a retrospective of his work. Through photography, film and writing Van der Meer examines the world around him. For example, his images of amateur football are also an exploration of human nature within the landscape. In The Netherlands – Off the shelf (2012) he wryly observes the increasingly homogenous built environment of provincial Dutch towns. With his latest project, Time to Change Van der Meer shows us the remarkable world of dairy farming. Hans van der Meer is based in Amsterdam and teaches at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.

website

Platforms

Boskoop, 2009
Boskoop, 2009
© Hans van der Meer
Hoofddorp, 2009
Hoofddorp, 2009
© Hans van der Meer
Raalte, 2009
Raalte, 2009
© Hans van der Meer
Enkhuizen, 2009
Enkhuizen, 2009
© Hans van der Meer
Winschoten, 2011
Winschoten, 2011
© Hans van der Meer
Leerdam, 2009
Leerdam, 2009
© Hans van der Meer
Off the Shelf, January 2012 @ Netherlands Architecture Institute
Off the Shelf, January 2012 @ Netherlands Architecture Institute
© Carel van Hees
Off the Shelf, January 2012 @ Netherlands Architecture Institute
Off the Shelf, January 2012 @ Netherlands Architecture Institute
© Carel van Hees
Off the Shelf, July 2014 @ Les Rencontres Arles Photographie
Off the Shelf, July 2014 @ Les Rencontres Arles Photographie
© Hans van der Meer
Off the Shelf, July 2014 @ Les Rencontres Arles Photographie
Off the Shelf, July 2014 @ Les Rencontres Arles Photographie
© Hans van der Meer
Off the Shelf, July 2014 @ Les Rencontres Arles Photographie
Off the Shelf, July 2014 @ Les Rencontres Arles Photographie
© Hans van der Meer

Exhibition

Off the shelf travelled several museums and festivals, such as the Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam and Les Rencontres Arles Photographie, Arles.

  • 27.08.201701.10.2017Group show 'Street photography', Kunsthal 45, Den Helder (NL)

    16.11.201404.01.2015Le Centquatre, Parijs (FR)

    29.08.201422.02.2015Stedelijk Museum (part of On the Move), Amsterdam (NL)

    07.07.201428.09.2014Les Rencontres d'Arles, Arles (FR)

    21.01.201201.04.2012NAI, Rotterdam (NL)

© Hans van der Meer

Book

Nederland – uit voorraad leverbaar / The Netherlands – Off the shelf is a book published by Ydoc Publishing and an exhibition produced by Paradox, in collaboration with the Netherlands Architecture Institute (Rotterdam).

 

Buy
  • Photography and concept: Hans van der Meer
    Texts: Hans van der Meer, Ole Bouman
    Editors: Hans van der Meer, Bas Vroege
    Assistant editors: Kim Nuijen, Valentijn Brandt
    Translations: Cecily Layzell
    Spatial design: TomDavid
    Graphic design: Kummer & Herrman
    Lithography: Colour & Books
    Printing: Slinger
    Binding: Patist


Events

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In the media

  • "We're not looking out photos, but ourselves. Van der Meer makes us aware of that."

    nrc.next

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