In Sloot en Plas

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.

Sloot en Plas (Pond and Stream), M.A. Koekkoek’s (1873-1944) most well-known illustration, ca. 1910-1918
Sloot en Plas (Pond and Stream), M.A. Koekkoek’s (1873-1944) most well-known illustration, ca. 1910-1918

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.”

Aan het strand (At the Beach) my other favorite Koekkoek watercolor fro the same series, Dieren in hun Omgeving .
Aan het Strand (At the Beach) my other favorite Koekkoek watercolor from the same book and print series, Dieren in hun Omgeving.

(Click one of the images to see the photo album)

4 thoughts on “In Sloot en Plas

  1. PLeun,
    You’ve outdone yourself.
    The Sloot en Plas illustration looks familiar. I must have seen it elsewhere. It’s good to see that great educational materials are timeless. The frog portrait is really good. I assume that Buddy was engaged eleswhere.

  2. Actually he wasn’t — and don’t get me started on photography and walking dogs — but this was that rare moment when he did not charge at what I was looking at.

  3. Very nice backstory. The remaking of Europe after WW2 is a largely still unmined vein. I am fond of saying that no one talks about the 50s here in France – at all!

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