A day at the beach

Now that summer is coming to an end here in The Netherlands and the weekend promises rain, I feel inclined to share a few images I made in 2013 of Almeerderstrand, a small freshwater city beach in the township Almere Poort.

When I made these images during a weekend in August the beachfront had for me, the appearance and feel of an alternative bathing spot known and used only by locals living in, or near Almere Poort. That was however, a quiet weekend as the beach is also used to hold large events and festivals throughout the year.

In the next years the current appearance and atmosphere of the waterfront will certainly change after the planned boardwalk is built and paved bike path skirting the beach are completed. Almeerderstrand is namely just a small area in the large scale urban development plan known as DUIN.

Behind the trees in the above picture, a whole housing project has already arisen in artificially created sand dunes and future plans include creating another boardwalk beachfront along the same waterline. In the meantime the people in my pictures seemed more than happy with their beach, even proud of it and what it represents to them personally. Almere is built entirely on reclaimed land 3-5 meters below sea level and officially became a city only in 1976.


Dutch girl spending the day at the beach, Almere Poort 2013, The Netherlands


Dutch mother and son spending the day at Almeerderstrand. This fresh water beach is zoned to be transformed into a commercial waterfront boulevard.


Dutch couple spending the day at the beach with their dog in the specially zoned area for dog owners.


A Dutch family spending the day at fresh water beach Almeerderstrand.

While photographing the family above the man told me he was born in Amsterdam and that his family relocated to Almere shortly after his birth. When meeting him again after giving him a print, he was quite moved by the image as it reminded him of his youth and growing up in a barren and sandy landscape.

This feeling of pride and a certain sense of nostalgia, is something I come across quite a lot while working in Almere. People who relocated to this new-town in the 1970’s, mostly Amsterdammers, have the feeling of being pioneers and sometimes miss the old, undeveloped landscape they grew up in. His wife is from Brabant, a naturally forested region in the south of The Netherlands and well above sea level. Although she likes Almere, she also misses the trees from where she grew up.


Young Dutch mothers spending a day at fresh water beach Almeerderstrand, Almere.

Also the two young mothers in the above image, when I showed them the picture on the camera screen one of them exclaimed: ‘Beautiful isn’t it, the electricity towers in the background! It’s really Almere.’