In Pond and Stream
My sense of the world of land and water is shaped by the “natural history” educational prints of Animals in their World by M.A. Koekkoek that graced the walls of my school room in the early sixties. These were the same ones my mother grew up with in the early thirties – they were fairly new then. There’s something to be said for that continuity, as they spoke to my mother’s imagination as much as they did to mine then and do now. And perhaps that is how they became so magical.
Both classroom and teaching materials were reinvented in the great consumption rage of the 1960s, which was funded in the Netherlands by a large reservoir of natural gas discovered in the province Groningen that allowed the country to remake itself in the image of modernity. There was a great need to discard the yellowed, class-ridden, stuffy and tight-minded pre-war Dutch world my parents’ generation grew up in, a world that had become irrelevant under German occupation. And an urge to renew after thirty years of turning over each dime four times before spending it. Almost everything became new, streamlined, and clean. But the Koekkoek prints remained, in some cases to this day when we find my favorite one, In Sloot en Plas (In Pond and Stream) at the center of an online educational enrichment lesson about life under water, paired with materials from the The Hague educational museum “Museon.”
(Click one of the images to see the photo album)