A year after Crown Prince Willem Alexander accepted the first copy of ‘Sweet&Salt: Water and the Dutch’ and opened the exhibition in the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, the book – now in its third printing – is receiving prizes and praise.
The Golden Tulip, the yearly prize of the Netherlands’ community of booksellers, was awarded to (the Dutch edition of) the book, ‘Zoet&Zout’, as the best nonfiction book of 2012. A quote for the jury report: ‘Zoet&Zout: the ideal combination of text and images, of straightforward informatoin and creative imagination. About the turbulent relationship between the Dutch and water, between control and nature. ‘Zoet&Zout’ stands out above all other books on this subject is the important rol for the imagination, for photography and for art.’ You can read the jury report here.
In the New York Times of Sunday February 16th, architecture critic Michael Kimmelman devoted the front page of the Art&Design section to the new ways the Dutch are dealing with water. What can this mean for New York as it recovers from Hurricane Sandy? ‘I enlisted Tracy Metz to help me find useful lessons for New York in the Dutch example,’ he writes in the story entitled ‘Going with the Flow’. ‘An architecture critic based in Amsterdam, she is the co-author, with Maartje van den Heuvel, an art historian, of “Sweet & Salt: Water and the Dutch,” which should be required reading these days.’
A lot of people seem to think so: it stands as the #1 bestseller on Amazon.com in the section on Land Use & Urban Planning. Architectural Record had already voted ‘Sweet&Salt’ one of the three best books of 2012. Read the Editors’ Picks for 2012 here.
Kimmelman and I visited the Overdiepsepolder where farmers have relocated their farms onto mounds so that their polder can become a spillway for the Meuse river; we saw the new integrated sea dike and promenade at Scheveningen; we visited the impressive Maeslantkering. Ultimately the most important Dutch contribution to water management in the US may be the political courage to say: this is what we are going to do, for the general good, and there are the consequences. You can read his story here.
On February 4th, I gave a talk on ‘Sweet&Salt’ at the National Building Museum in Washington DC. In the audience of over 120 was Jared Green of the American Society of Landscape Architects, who wrote a wonderful piece on the event for ASLA’s blog, ‘The Dirt’. You can read it here.
And just the week before,On January 31st, I was awarded the Groeneveld Prize 2012 for my contribution as a journalist and author to the debate in the Netherlands on nature and landscape. Dutch speakers can read my essay here.