Dutch lowlands from the air

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

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)