Wind and Tulips, Success in North Holland

“If I only grew potatoes and onions, then I wouldn’t speak with so many people,” says Jaap van der Beek. “You speak so often to these people because we all have the same interest. That interest is to build a big wind turbine.”

Jaap van der Beek has been harvesting the wind for over 15 years and his 850kw turbine powers hundreds of homes. He lives in North Holland; an area that centuries ago was dominated by wooden windmills. A pilot, farmer and a wind enthusiast, Jaap is a busy man.

He speaks passionately about the impact that wind energy has had on his life. “I really like the idea of getting energy from the wind,” says Jaap. “I really like the technology and I especially like the idea that it sits on my own property.” But perhaps first and foremost, even above the financial gain, is the sense of community gained from involvement with wind energy. Owning a wind turbine has connected him with the other solitary wind turbine owners in North Holland and with the industry as a whole.

Since installing his first windmill years ago, he has helped many others navigate the planning permits and regulations to install windmills or plan even bigger windmills. He is the assistant director of the Vereniging van Windturbine Eigenaren in Noord-Holland (Association of Wind Turbine owners in North Holland) and sits on the implementation board for the Netherlands Wind Energy Association.

These committees take a fair amount of time, but he doesn’t complain. He spends hours writing emails, attending meetings, writing reports and general committee work because he wishes to promote and grow the wind energy sector in the Netherlands.

As for himself, Jaap wants to keep building, “I am also a business person, I want to go forward; bigger, better. Standing still is to go backwards.” For the last four years he has been working with 35 other wind turbine owners to plan a large wind park on a polder in Holland. This co-operation will easily satisfy the Dutch law prescribing that windmills must be built together in a line. They are currently working on land planning and permissions and expect that there will be another 4 years before the project gets the green light.

When it does, Jaap hopes to install a 3.5 MW turbine, 4 times more powerful then the older one that currently sits next to his house. He knows that working together has been a great exercise to get to know his neighbours and build a community spirit as everyone moves towards a common goal. In the meantime, Jaap will continue to farm his tulips, fly his planes and raise his family in the shadow of his windmill.

This blog post is part 9 of a series of wind energy stories from photographer Robert van Waarden Next week meet Dr. Roy, an early adopter of wind energy in Thailand and developer of low speed wind turbines. 

Corporate Photography in Amsterdam

I was recently engaged by a Japanese agency to undertake some corporate photography here in Amsterdam. The assignment was a meeting of professionals in the Grand Amrath Hotel in Amsterdam, a straight forward assignment. However, what made it stand out was the way it was handled. They were the type of client that any photographer would bend over backwards for. From the beginning there were no questions about the fee, no weird demands for copyright, and they offered to pay on the day. It really demonstrated that if the process isn’t solely based on a dollar figure, but on respect, integrity, and quality, it pays dividends in the end. The end result was something that both parties put effort into and are happy with in the end.

Some results below.

Utrecht Photography 2 of 2 – Kayaking on the Canals

Yesterday I posted a panorama photograph of Utrecht city center as part of a two part blog post on photography in Utrecht. This is the second post.

Recently I took the opportunity to head out with some dear friends and kayak around the canals of Utrecht. With boats graciously provided by Kanoverhuur Utrecht, we paddled under canal bridges, watched the autumn leaves fall on our heads and explored the city from a new angle. I would recommend that anytime you are traveling and get a chance to see a city from the water, take it. It is a fantastic experience, especially in Holland where you can explore all the small canals and back waterways that you would never discover. I hope that you enjoy this gallery of images from Utrecht and our kayak on the canals.


Kayaking on the Canals in Utrecht, Holland – Images by Robert vanWaarden

Utrecht Photography 1 of 2 – Nightime Panorama

I love the city of Utrecht, the Netherlands. It is small enough to feel like a village, is within easy train access to Amsterdam, and feels much more ‘Dutch’ then its’ bigger brother to the North. Photographing the wonderful canals and city is a great pleasure, especially at night when the lights sparkle off the water. I wanted to take this opportunity to share two images / projects that I have been working on. This is the first, a Panorama of Utrecht, including the DOM tower in the background. I hope that you enjoy it. Check back tomorrow for the second set of images from Utrecht.

To license this image click here.

Winter Photography in the Netherlands

A freeze has bit the Netherlands over the last few weeks. It has become a great time to curl up with a book or a friend and sip hot chocolate, or a great time to take you kid out for a sleigh ride along the canals.

All across the country the skates are being dusted off and the flying dutch are back. It doesn’t matter if you are Canadian, Dutch, Australian, or a global citizen, we can all rejoice in the cold.