The sky is dark, the landscape is silent except for the sound of the sea. In the distance just above the horizon, a still light hangs like a bright star. Almost motionless, she sneaks closer, at first slowly, but then ever faster. A wide beam, with flickering lamps on either side, alternating red and green, reflects on the waves, splits the air in two, shoots over my head and bends southwards. Then darkness and the silence of the roar of the sea. In the distance, above the red lights of the wind farms that rest on the horizon, a new bright star appears. A few kilometers further another star and another one. Like a flight of stairs, a long line of planes descends, one by one, with two minute intervals. The dune where I’m standing on is an off-ramp of a highway in the sky.
I had never been aware of the influence that Schiphol and Amsterdam exerts on the surrounding landscape until last year. After having lived in Amsterdam for 20 years, I moved to the silence of Bakkum in North Holland. I was confronted with the enormous amount of aircraft that fly over. With hundreds of people skimming over at the same time, day in day out, night in night out. Strangely enough, over time, just like the clock ticking, it became a kind of background noise, that assured me that Amsterdam was not far away in the first, somewhat anxious months after the move. I had left my city but all these people are almost there, so she can never be far away. For me, the lights symbolize the attraction, the homecoming, the longing for, and at the same time the nuisance of the city. It’s influence lies like a web over the surrounding landscape, contrasting sharply with it. In a poetic and oddly tranquil manner, these lights make the pressure and bustle of the city visible. They go to Amsterdam, they belong to her, like fireflies that fly from the darkness to the light.
In 2019 the project is commissioned for the documentary assignment competition 2019 of the City Archives of Amsterdam, and about 20 prints will be added to the rich photography archives of the city.