The Netherlands and water are inextricably inked. Although the history with respect to this subject can sometimes be quite frightening, because of the climate change and rising sea level, one important aspect is often overlooked: the Dutch – and the tourists who visit the Netherlands – enjoy the water!
Blue Bliss is an ode to having fun on, at and in the water. A feel-good book about water recreation in the Dutch landscape as depicted in the visual arts through the ages. Art historian and curator Maartje van den Heuvel (Leiden University) selected more than 140 works of art, varying form paintings from the Golden Age to photography by contemporary artists, and even a number of fascinating amateur videos. Various topics are covered: boating, the design and construction of yachts, swimming, angling, winter fun on the ice, landscape art, old art traditions in contemporary work, and the shaping of the landscapes themselves.
In addition to Van den Heuvel, André Groeneveld (Zuiderzee Museum Enkhuizen), Elisabeth Spits (The National Maritime Museum Amsterdam), and Suzanne Loen and Inge Bobbink (TU Delft) contributed with essays in which they shed light on the art and cultural history of the enjoyment of water in the Netherlands.