Objective Netherlands  
Changing landscape 1974-2017

Objective Netherlands is a project originally initiated in 1974 by Reinjan Mulder, whose ambition it was to show the true spirit of The Netherlands. Driven by the question ‘What does our country really look like?’, he developed a photographic experiment in which there would not be any attention to composition, the beauty of a place, or to recognisable Dutch landmarks.

To define the photo-locations, Mulder laid out a diagonal square grid over the map of The Netherlands. Within this framework, he chose 52 coordinates. With a compass as well as maps from the Topographical Service of the Netherlands, he identified the exact locations and took 4 pictures in each wind direction: North, South, East and West. The result was a catalogue of 208 images that showed the “objective” and varied Dutch landscape. Looking at these pictures, you will sometimes find yourself in urban areas, sometimes on the surface of water, but for the most part in a broad landscape with just few traces of humans on the horizon.

In 2016 Berno Strootman, government advisor for Physical Living-environment, noticed the project while it was exhibited for the first time in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam and in consultation with Mulder he decided to initiate a new experiment. Because of the almost scientific approach in 1974, the project was well suited to monitor the landscape. Strootman commissioned me to revisit all original places as defined by Mulder to translate his project to present day.

* The project was published by Nai010 in 2018 is accompanied by a website www.objectiefnederland.nl

* Publication

Objectief Nederland, Changing Landscape 1974 — 2017 by Cleo Wächter and Reinjan Mulder, Published by Nai010, Design by Studio Joost Grootens, Accompanying essays by Merel Bem, Henk Baas, Berno Strootman, Peter Delpeut and Ludo van Halem, With support from: Creative Industries Fund NL, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, NH Bos Foundation, Babel & Voss, and the Charema Fonds, managed by the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.

*   Presentation
Fotofestival Schiedam (2021)