The Pieterpad (Pieter Path) is annually walked by tens of thousands of hikers and takes you right across the Netherlands from the coastal village of Pieterburen in the North to the hill Sint-Pietersberg in the far south. The hiking trail, devised by Bertje Jens and Toos Goorhuis, was launched in 1981 and has since been regularly adapted. Nature was created or cultvated, footpaths were asphalted or construced and parts of the route were shifted because of emerging industry and abandoned marl quarries. Therefor, from time to time updated versions of the walking guides are needed: the path follows the evolution of the Dutch landscape.
The Dutch landscape is a parkland. Men’s hands moved, asphalted, excavated, raised, build and pulled down, sowed and ploughed, consciously left alone or unconsciously turned up almost every square meter. Nature has been fully supervised in cooperation with the forces of nature: no Groningen countryside without men and the tide of the Wadden. Accidental nature is almost unknown in the Netherlands: most trees have been planted, rivers are canalized and the peat is cut. Only a few small pieces of nature remained unaffected over the last century, most of the time only the illusion of unspoiled nature is created. Artificiality is the trademark of Dutch nature.
The photographs in this book show a cross-section of the Netherlands as a walk through a park. They combine the illusion of unspoilt nature with the noticeable influence of mankind. They show the sun-drenched makeability of natue in misty heithlands, mossy production forests and tightly ploughed fields. Sometimes a romantic ruin shows up, surrounded by barbed wire and a freshly mown meadow and sometimes a primaeval scenery, invisibly stuck between highway and residential area. The photographs are grand, panoramic and in black and white to experience the scenery in timeless unity.