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Warner Oosterbaan

NAi Publishers, 2006
144 pages
Fully illustrated, colour and b+w.
ISBN: 9056625160

The village of Nagele in the Noordoostpolder is a striking example of postwar planning in the Netherlands: a new village on new land. The village was intended for agricultural labourers and was designed and built in a single grand gesture by architects such as Aldo van Eyck, Gerrit Rietveld and Mien Ruys.

But no matter how modern the concept of the village was, it has not been able to evade rural developments that the designers could not have foreseen: the intensification of mobility, the increase of scale and mechanisation in the agricultural sector, and the arrival of immigrants. Nevertheless, the original concept, which is no less rigid than that of the Bijlmermeer, seems to have remained intact.

The documentary photographers Cary Markerink and Theo Baart have been following the changes in Nagele since 1984. They use photographs from family albums of the pioneer period and above all their own photographs from the period 1986-2006 to show how an introverted agrarian village turned into a community of commuters.

Sociologist and journalist Warna Oosterbaan interviewed local councillors, residents and entrepreneurs in Nagele. He discovered that the pioneer spirit is still alive in Nagele, but also that the villagers have time and again changed course at the right moment.


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