Bulderbos – A Roaring Forest Against Airport Expansion

In 1994 over 1000 people from the Netherlands gathered to protest the expansion of Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. They planted trees in the planned path of the new fifth runway forcing Schiphol to reconsider and move the runway. Although the protest was eventually unsuccessful in halting the construction, those trees grew into a forest known today as the Bulderbos (roaring forest).

This constructed landscape is a lasting symbol of people putting environment over development. The small photo series brings the Bulderbos into the homes of five key supporters and tree planters nearly 20 years later.

  1. The Bulderbos
  2. Mary Lauw – Zoetermeer
  3. Wijnand Duyvendak – Amsterdam
  4. Leo Langeveld – Ede
  5. Jeroen Warmerdam – Nieuw Vennep
  6. Ad & Gerda Roset – Hoofdorp


Bulderbos – a legacy of green protest – Images by Robert van Waarden

Amsterdam Travel Photography – Garuda Airlines Magazine

I recently had the pleasure of contributing to an article on Amsterdam for the May edition of Garuda Airlines Colours magazine. It was great to photograph the city that I have been living in for the last couple of years from my perspective for this magazine. In the gallery below are some of the images that were published.

National Geographic Netherlands/Belgie – Verdwaald in de Algarve

This month, the National Geographic Netherlands/Belgie Netherlands edition has an article on the Algarve region in Portugal that I photographed. If you are in the Netherlands or Belgium, I invite you to go and pick up a copy from a shop and check out my take on the Algarve.

Press Release – Climate Oxide

Title: Climate Oxide
Datum: 9 oktober 2012

Climate Oxide is a new visual art project, opening in Amsterdam on Friday, 19 October at the Kunstkerk, Prinseneiland, that uses photography, steel, and rust to interpret the corrosion of our environment.

A Nepali Buddhist temple powered by solar energy, the devastating impacts of tar sands mining in Canada, or the Delta works of Zeeland; the images and rust employed in Climate Oxide visually depict how a tarnished world could look like if we don’t change our ways. The exhibition is meant to raise awareness and to offer a cross-experience between art and activism.

Canadian born artist Robert van Waarden and Nepali born Shiva Rimal both share Dutch nationality. Drawing upon experiences from their individual backgrounds they provide a personalised perspective of global climate issues for their audience.

The technique of combining rust and photography can be seen in this ‘making of’ video.

Exhibit Opening: Friday 19 October, 20:00
Where: Kunstkerk, Prinseneiland 89, 1013 LM, Amsterdam
Exhibit Dates: Friday, 19 October to Sunday, 28 October
Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 10:00 to 18:00 (closed Mondays)

Special event: Sunday, 28 October from 14:00 to 17:00.
A panel of invited guests will share their thoughts on design, photography and the environment. Guests include; David Harry from Het Beste Idee van Nederland and the International Innovation Company, Mark Smit from the sustainability policy development team at the Hogeschool Rotterdam, and Iris Cheng, climate campaigner from Greenpeace International.

Robert and Shiva are available for interviews or comments:

For more information about the Artists:

Climate Oxide Video – The Making Of

I am very happy to share this video we have created on the making of the Climate Oxide project. Climate Oxide is a collaborative art project with artist Shiva Rimal. Together we use photography, rust and industrial design to create large pieces of visual art on the subject of climate change. The official opening of the exhibit is on October 19, 2012 at 20:00 at the Kunstkerk (PrinsenEiland 89) in Amsterdam, come by and join us.

Climate Oxide – Trailer from Robert van Waarden on Vimeo.


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. 

Co-operative Wind Harvesting in the Netherlands

Cycling along the country roads of Flevoland, you can’t help but notice the wind. If one is lucky, it is behind you, if it isn’t… well, good luck. It is no wonder that windmills haphazardly dot the landscape. They fit. This is the Netherlands, a country where wooden windmills have dotted the landscape for hundreds of years. Now instead of pumping water, modern windmills are now powering thousands of homes.

Stephan de Clerck and his brother Ralph live within a few kilometres of each other in Flevoland and they are no strangers to the wind. They have been harvesting wind energy for 10 years. In the beginning they were looking for ways to diversify their farms and incomes. They love how wind energy perfectly complements their other crops of potatoes, onions, and sugar beets. Once installed, the windmills turn steadily in the background, while the day-to-day life of a farmer continues. For them, wind energy is a valuable crop, and one that gets better the stormier the weather.

Together, Stephan and Ralph produce enough wind energy to power 5000 homes. Their energy is sold through WindUnie, a co-operative that sources and sells wind power to residents of the Netherlands. Ten years ago, WindUnie was a small start-up, but through the engagement of landowners like Stephan and Ralph, this co-operative has grown to be a major player in wind energy market in the Netherlands. Connecting residential customers with small scale producers, the WindUnie website intelligently allows you to explore the suppliers of wind energy, meet their families and see where your wind is coming from. In the case of Stephan and Ralph, you find out that they have 3 and 4 kids respectively and love skiing and walking on their holidays.

Stephan was very happy with the first set of windmills, so much so that he wished to build more. But, by then, the zoning laws had changed and regulations were now requiring windmills to be built in a line rather then individually. Stephan realized that he couldn’t do it on his own. So he went knocking on his neighbours doors and together the 5 of them launched Samen voor de Wind, (Together for the Wind), a co-operative farm of 7 windmills.

Samen voor de Wind has substantially contributed to the financial well-being and health of the families. All the members have young families and they are naturally happy to have the extra income. Furthermore, the co-operative has built a stronger community between the neighbours.

Stephan believes that for renewable energy to succeed, we desperately need to level the subsidy playing field. With the removal of fossil and nuclear fuel subsidies, the market would take over and clean energy would rise to top.

“In the future, instead of all of us being energy users, we will all become energy producers,” says Stephan.

This blog post is part 4 of a series of wind energy stories from photographer Robert van Waarden. Next week meet Petr Pavek, an influential character in Czech Republic politics who has retired to his organic farm to live life more simply.