Over a year ago, I was asked if I wanted to have an exhibition of my work in the entrance hall of the RIVM, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven. At that time, I had only a vague idea of the existence of that institute. But then first the emissions of nitrogen by agriculture and industry created a kind of national crisis in which the institute played a pivotal role. And after that the covid-19 pandemic came upon us. By now, there is probably nobody in the country who has never heard of RIVM.… Read More
A map can evoke a world on a piece of paper, or on a few million pixels. Big or small, real or fiction. A world that once was but no longer is. Or a world that does not exist yet but that could one day bethere.
I always liked browsing through atlases, studying street plans and dreaming away over maps. And I practice the noble craft of cartography myself. From the history of Rotterdam to the future of Mars: I map it.
Since I wrote an article about beer photography on this blog last year, I own a colorful collection of bottle caps. Its numbers are growing because my friends keep collecting caps for me and I also like to open the occasional bottle myself. I had the idea for some time to make a world map of all those beer caps. And the partial lockdown we’ve had in the Netherlands for a few weeks now was a good reason to implement that plan. As a kind of moral support for the Dutch bars and restaurants. Not that it really helps them,… Read More
In March of this year, in the week we discovered that the corona pandemic would not pass the Netherlands completely unnoticed, I saw someone walking with three mega packs of toilet paper. And moments later another person with the same commodities. And another one. It was a trend. And although there was still plenty of toilet paper in warehouses, the shelves in the supermarkets were mostly empty for a while. I’ve heard many explanations for that sudden toilet paper hoarding. Maybe it was because people ran out of their supplies faster because they worked from home. Perhaps a shortage of… Read More
One of the most bizarre conspiracy theories has to be that of the Flat Earth. There is even a society with hundreds of members who gather at conventions to discuss the “evidence” that NASA and other agencies, with malicious intentions or out of ignorance, maintain the idea that our planet is a sphere orbiting the Sun. But the mere fact that it is not day or night everywhere at the same time suggests that the Earth is not flat. When the sun is shining in Europe, it should be visible from New Zealand as well, on a flat Earth. Even… Read More
This year we commemorate that eighty years ago the reconstruction of Rotterdam started. On May 14, 1940, much of the city was destroyed by the German bombardment and subsequent fire. Just four days later, on May 18, city architect W.G. Witteveen was commissioned to make a plan for the rebuilding. The ultimate Basic Plan for Reconstruction, drawn by Witteveen’s successor Cornelis van Traa, was not aproved by the city council until 1946. As I searched through my Rotterdam archive, I came across a thirty-year-old brochure, published in 1990 to celebrate fifty years of reconstruction. On its front page is a… Read More
The World Map of Trees, shown below, is made of more than 15,000 trees that together form the continents of our planet, while the surrounding grassy meadows represent the oceans. A piece of land art on an area of approximately 200 hectares, accessed by roads and paths (the equator and some meridians) and with ditches representing tropics and polar circles. All this of course entirely digital and virtual, because unfortunately I have no backyard of this size. Apart from the fact that this forest map is a nice addition to my collection of world maps (see, for example, the stained… Read More
I have already made quite a few special world maps, but never a version in stained glass. Our planet played a part in the virtual stained glass window that I made of the famous Earthrise photo, but that is not the same. So it was about time to fill this gap in my collection. And here’s the result! Virtual glass The map is made of 1440 pieces of colored glass. Virtual glass, of course, because this artwork was made entirely with the help of Photoshop and a tiny bit of Autocad. Despite the abstraction, the elements that make our world… Read More
What would the world map look like if all the polar ice would melt? And how long does it take to get there? These are interesting questions now that climate change is – finally – on the political agenda. And as a cartographer, I could not resist the temptation to visualize the worst case scenario. Gravity When the Greenland ice sheet melts, the sea level rises 7 meters, when the ice melts in Antarctica it causes a rise of 58 meters. So together that makes 65 meters. But that is an average. Because something else plays a role: gravity. Such… Read More
Well in time for the European elections, it’s finished: the map of Europe in digital scrap wood. The third in a series; previously I made a scrap wood map of the Netherlands and the world. 54 countries Making this map was a bit more difficult than the previous two. Instead of 12 provinces or seven continents, we are dealing with 54 different countries big and small here. And for each of them I have searched for a separate piece of wood. Virtual wood, by the way, let there be no misunderstanding about it. Geopolitics When making a map of Europe,… Read More
The scrapwood map the the provinces of the Netherlands was the most popular item in my Dutch webshop in 2018. That does not mean that the map is decorating walls in hundreds of living rooms, but it is still a modest success for this piece of virtual recycling. The World After this achievement, I just had to make a world map in scrapwood as well and here it is… Just like the map of the Netherlands it was rendered in 3ds Max using digital scaffolding, plywood, planks, slats, floorboards and rusty nails. The colors and textures were chosen quite randomly.… Read More