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The exotic around the corner

If there is one thing I have learnt from the travel restrictions coming with the corona pandemic, then it is to appreciate my local environment. I’m talking about the Netherlands here: A tiny, flat, wet, and windy country inhabited by more than 17 million people, making it one of the most densely populated countries in the world. For a landscape photographer, that probably doesn’t sound very attractive, especially compared to the quintessential photography heavens of the world. Take Canada, for example, which is a few hundred times larger than the Netherlands, but has a population that is just twice as large. Long story short: There is little space for natural landscapes here in the Netherlands. Unsurprisingly, this is the typical mindset of the Dutch, including myself. I have gradually learnt, however, that this does not mean that there are no impressive landscape shots to be had. Also in the Netherlands, you really don’t need to travel far to find “exotic”, or even “epic”, landscapes for your photography. If you take notice, find the right frame, have a bit of luck with the light and atmosphere (or just get up early), you may find the exotic — whatever that means to you — just around the corner.

Here are a couple of shots I took around my hometown or at no more than a two-hour drive away from it (mind you, that is enough to cross more than half of our country). Spectacular mountain or desert landscapes are definitely out of the question here, but I’m quite sure that many of my compatriots would believe me if I told them that the photos below were shot in countries that they would consider much more exotic than their own. Not that this matters an awful lot, but it does make me excited to explore our cramped little corner of the world just a bit more before we get the opportunity to travel the rest again.

These photos are not from Canada, Scandinavia, or Africa, but from the Netherlands, also known as the Low Countries or Lowlands. That may not sound very exciting from a geographic point of view, but if it comes to photography, you may be served here just as well as anywhere else in the world.

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