Dutch Fields by Hans van der Meer

In honor of Holland’s 8-1 thrashing of Hungary yesterday, I present these photographs from Hans van der Meer’s fantastic work “Dutch Fields”. That collection, while often paling in notoriety to the scope he accomplished with his later work “European Fields”, is more representative of what van der Meer knows and a more honest retelling of the game at its most basic state. 

The horizon lines and the pastoral scenes that van der Meer creates are quintessentially Dutch and evoke the “golden-age” works of Peter van Ruisdael and Esaias van der Meer from the late 17th century. It is a reminder that while Holland has certainly changed dramatically as a society, more often than not, things stay the same. The Dutch look out to the same horizon and occupy the same spaces that they did so many years ago. Just like the lower league players, depicted here, are not so different than the van Persies of today and the Cruyffs of the past. The Dutch game is predicated on this shared history of space and the country’s best players have always been the ones most adept at manipulating it. 

For more of van der Meer’s work, you visit his website or purchase European Fields. If you have more interest in Dutch culture and football in particular I highly recommend David Winner’s work Brilliant Orange, which, although nominally about football, describes the intersection of the sport with the Dutch lifestyle, their art, and culture as a whole. [Posted by John Ray]

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