If you want to change the land, the place to start is a map

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If you want to change the land, the place to start is a map

Map of the Netherlands 1968

When I was young, I could spend hours looking in my school atlas. Looking at the maps, I got more and more curious about the land behind them. The Himalaya for example. I still have not visited the place, but just looking at it on a map, how high, how unsurpassable, how powerful this land must be. Or the complete opposite, Bangladesh. Only delta, rivers as wide as the sea. I saw just enough pictures and television of those areas to create some sort of image, the details I filled in with the map.

I am still fond of maps. So now, at home I have a huge old School map of the Netherlands on the wall. It is from 1968. The first highways were appearing, the distances between cities were still discernable. Now cities like The Hague, Rotterdam, Zoetermeer and Delft are one continuous building zone. Only 50 years later; and all these changes started with a design and a map.

Dreaming of new land

When I am traveling, whether by car or train, and see the Dutch landscape, especially in winter, I see endless rows of barren fields, meadows, intersected with ever expanding building zones: a new forest of ugly Industrial and semi-classical residential areas where the gardens continue to be too small. The Netherlands has become very ugly over the last 50 years and now with the economic crisis over, the ugliness is growing again at alarming speed.

When again I am traveling in five years time, I want to see that the meadows are then lined with trees and shrubs, that fields are being transformed into food forests and permaculture gardens; that water can run through the landscape, and that the agricultural areas of our land are again places full of life, where people want to live and recreate instead of places full of poison and toxic materials.

If this is my dream, I also know that there needs to be a design and map first. From the area, the country, our own farm or estate, the places we dream of. Now the dream is just in my head and to convince people of change I have to talk for hours. But if I can show a design, others can immediately see what I mean.

camp design daniel halsey e.o.

camp design by Daniel Halsey e.o.

Learn to make maps yourself

Creating great designs is an art and the resulting maps based on the natural principles of a place is an even greater art. International renowned teacher and designer Daniel Halsey can teach you the principles of this art in only 10 days in such a way that, from there on, you can continue your professional journey into designing on your own. In 10 days you learn how to think, to translate what is, where to look for the information you miss, and add what naturally falls into place into the land and into your dreams of the place.

Unfortunately we could not find enough candidates for this course in this timeslot, so had to blow it of. But we will look into new opportunities for this course in Europe. If you are interested, please let us know.


  • Anton van der Pluijm says:

    Voor de voedselbvoorziening is het belangrijk dat er bij kleine (afgelegen) dorpen , samen met deze mensen , grote moestuinen met een eigen watervoorziening worden aangelegd. Ik wens jullie veel succes.

  • Justin R-Söndergaard says:

    Great post. I am interested and have sent an email to the address indicated. Thank you, Justin.

  • Apolonia says:

    I like to host a restoration camp in California dessert community of 140 people in a large valley, overtaxed and a Soda lake in the lowest part . We pump the square but need more trees as most land is just grass and wildflowers in the winter if it rains. Water level going down and more minerals in it but were I am still ok water. 1 lady planted 300 trees in 3 yrs and some small gardens. Winds N
    Need to be mitigated and water harvested. Plan of earth dome by Cal earthgraduate. Propagating, underground greenhouse, strawbale room, solar cooking , music .

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