Milk-drinkers and cheese-makers

Pic is from Maider Lopez’s Polder Cup. Text from the essay ‘a home in the country’ , Trouw oct 5t 2012:

The Dutch landscape, with its overcrowdedness and lack of  scale …. has gradually grown on me. It is almost completely man-made, and strange differences exist between the polders low-down and the rivers that flow onwards above the level of the surrounding land. It is a bizarre and age-old landscape made by men, a landscape that will never stop surprising me. 

The beautiful farms with their orange rooftiles and yellow bricks are formatted to house the cows that are indoors in winter, and to keep dry the hay that is harvested for them. The grasslands  make a habitat for all kind of interesting birds, and create a huge open area that has as little to do with nature as – almost – all the rest of the Netherlands: embanked,  re-allocated, poldered, dried out, canalised. Our delta, for sure, is totally artificial. For centuries, for a thousand years: a milennium of meat-eaters and milk-drinkers, of cheese-makers and of those spreading butter on bread. And what fascinates me – even though I eat meat less than I used to – is this historical, man-made aspect of  everything we call landscape. That the countryside exists to feed the city, with its enourmous belly, is something I need not be reminded of. 

To be completely honest, nature is a holiday for me. In our small country we have small nature reserves. Our highly artificial efforts to protect nature creates so-called natural monuments:   a splendid oxymoron and a very Dutch paradox. 

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