Dutch Utopia

Dutch Utopia is a photo competition by museum Singer Laren which I wanted to enter. It is about (paraphrasing Singer Laren) “hundreds of American artists that traveled at the beginning of the last century to distant Dutch villages like Laren, Katwijk and Volendam to get inspired. America was industrializing very fast back then and the artists looked with nostalgia towards how they thought the Dutch were living then.”

For my entry I wanted to focus on the return of nature and the smaller scale of Dutch living and deminish the role of the human being in evolution, not because the human role is small, but because we might gradually be suffering from hubris (industrialisation, we can do better than nature, etcetera).

Fall 2030. Unknown bacteria coming from the food industry have decimated the population of the world some decades ago. Most survivors have gathered in big cities, leaving the country to smaller social groups that want to live closer to nature. The losses are deplored, the mass graves are places of pilgrimage. Our food is primarily grown in warm countries (on big industrial farm-like sites with the available solar energy) and flown in or transported by boat with existing technology. In the Netherlands there is still cattle breeding but on a much smaller scale. With only 1,5 million people left the Dutch have other things on their mind than playing woodward, landscaping is left to nature. A small ice age starts. Some beautiful landscapes start to arise in the Netherlands, wolves are back. This big change requires the population to adapt and leads to a more careful society, the larger space to an unprecedented sense of freedom.

Dutch Utopia
Dutch Utopia – photo Joeri van Veen 2010

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