The Netherlands - Off the shelf

Hans van der Meer

Author: Hans van der Meer
Texts by: Hans van der Meer, intro by Ole Bouman
Design: Kummer&Herrman
Binding: Schweizer brochure in cover w flaps
Pages: 240 (95 photographic plates, 32 pages catalogue NL)
Cover: Softcover
Size: 225 x 297 mm
Paper: Arctic Volume + Lessebo Design (inside), Algro Design (cover)
Colour: Colour
Language: Dutch, English
Production: Paradox
Publisher: Paradox, YdocPublishing
Launch: 2012
ISBN: 876-90-802655-0-9

Price: € 39,50

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The Project

What do we see around us when we go to get money out of a cash machine in Boskoop? Or when we fetch a supermarket trolley in a car park in Breukelen? What do we see when we meet up with friends in a cafe in Steenwijk, or eat chips with our kids in a snack bar in Enkhuizen?

The Netherlands - Off the shelf is about all the things that are visible around us. A huge amount has been built in recent decades, particularly outside the major cities. In places like Heerhugowaard or Hoofddorp the population has increased almost tenfold. As a result, the country\'s appearance has changed dramatically; cities have been slowly pushed into the country.

The centres of many towns are a patchwork of additions that have been made over time. Squares are remodelled by ambitious property developers, entrepreneurs, architects and local councils. This is where regulations, common sense, taste, coincidence and ambition coexist uneasily. The result is a fascinating compromise between different approaches and interests. These places are familiar and at the same time interchangeable.

In The Netherlands - Off the shelf, Hans van der Meer brings together his own photography and his fascination for vernacular photography (he is co-founder of Useful Photography magazine) for the first time. By including catalogue images of street furniture, he casts a different light on the Netherlands. It suddenly becomes clear where the familiarity and interchangeability come from.
The book also includes columns - a number of them previously published in De Volkskrant newspaper under the title Het Raadsel Nederland (Puzzling Netherlands) - in which Van der Meer, in the same wry style as his photos, describes how the Netherlands as it is came to exist; the Netherlands with which everyone is familiar but have never seen like this before.

Hans van der Meer
Hans van der Meer (1955, Leimuiden) is a documentary photographer. He studied at the Technical School for Photography in The Hague and the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. With an eye for coincidence, body language and absurdity, he photographed everyday life on the streets of Budapest (Hungary) in the mid-80s.

His observations were published in Quirk of Fate (1987). The projects Dutch Fields (1998) and European Fields (2006), about football in its original form, brought him international acclaim in the art world and beyond. In 2004 he published Achterland (Hinterland), which also deals with spatial planning in the Netherlands. Public space, the human condition and the world just next to the subject are recurring aspects of Van der Meer\'s work.

In 1997 Hans van der Meer co-founded the magazine Useful Photography. He is currently teaching at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (KABK).

For further information about the project, see:



Dutch booksellers can order from Centraal Boekhuis or by contacting Jan Smit Boeken, Hilversum.

International booksellers can order from Idea Books, through peter @

YdocPublishing is a cluster member of Vrije Uitgevers. Individual customers can order from this webstore (powered by Hexspoor).

Special edition

Y offers a signed copy of the book The Netherlands - Off the shelf and a limited edition print by Hans van der Meer. The photographs are printed in an edition of 25 by master printer Nico Los / Eyes On Media (Amsterdam) on Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk Paper. The paper size is 210x297 mm , the net image measures 267x189mm (archival quality inkjet print). Signed book + print available at €195 (including VAT, not including shipping).

Make your choice from 3 different images: Hoofddorp (2010), Deurne (2010), Boskoop (2009). Prints are accompanied by a certificate signed by the artist.