The Dutch Landscape As A Supermarket
Architecture office Van Bergen Kolpa and the researchers of Alterra propose to redesign the Dutch landscape as a supermarket. For ages the Dutch polder landscape has been used to produce food for the cities. First for the cities that surrounded the green lands, later for the whole globalizing world. The Dutch landscape transformed into a food valley providing the world with milk, cheese, butter and flowers. The green lands and polders slightly transformed into a huge production landscape with glass houses and mega parks as eyecatchers. On the other hand, there has always been the issue of preserving the traditional landscape characterized by cows, windmills, dykes, and clouds, many clouds. The Dutch always wanted to save the landscape as painted by Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Vermeer. Due to the focus on preservation, the current Dutch landscape doesn’t fit the productive as well as recreational needs of the cities that still surround this landscape.
The traditional potato eating family as portrayed by Vincent van Gogh is replaced by sushi eating yuppies, and Johannes Vermeer’s Milkmaid is replaced by a headscarfed Muslim girl. Altogether, the Dutch landscape needs a functional restyling. The project Supermarket Landscape, initiated under the flag of Stroom’s Foodprint project, is an idea to facilitate these new productive needs. Van Bergen Kolpa and Alterra proposed a redesign of the entire landscape between Rotterdam and The Hague with the logics of a supermarket taken in mind, including routing and its assortment. This means that the consumer can provide himself anything needed for living directly from the landscape. This strategy combines the circumstances of a changing climate and rising water levels with the economical needs for farmers to intensify their production on relatively smallscaled pieces of land, especially compared to the rest of the world. At the same time, this plan is a recreation strategy, connecting landscape with city people by creating a new functional destination.
Food has a new role in the making of a landscape, facilitating 170 different nationalities having their own diet. According to research after the project, Dutch landscape has the morphological and climatical circumstances to produce whatever is needed for all possible meals in this multi-cultural setting. Rice, for example, can be cultivated in the changing Dutch wetlands. For some other products like lemons additional techniques are needed, but hey, it’s all possible.