Heritage Day Open Monumentendag 2017

Every second weekend of september, people all over the Netherlands organize the “Open Monumentendag” (Heritage Day). On this day, thousands of historical buildings and sites are open to the public, free of charge.

The Open Momumentendag is one of the Netherlands’ premier cultural events. Around 80 to 85 percent of Dutch municipalities participate, organized by local committees, attracting 900,000 visitors annually.

I photographed the pictures on the brochure for the City of Eindhoven. It seemed an easy task — millions of tourists somewhat succesfully photograph monuments every day — but it ultimately was not. You know what it’s like with monuments: it’s all been done before. They’ve been photographed countless times from every conceivable angle. They’ve been photographed by day, by night, by dusk, by dawn. So, how to add something new? In the end, I decided to make the difference by having young people play in front of the monuments.

My gratitude goes to the youngsters who posed with such enthusiasm. That’s exactly why it’s so nice to be young! The soccer player in the picture below, Luca, is very talented and practices every day at Young PSV. This street is his playground, but also his home. He is the third-generation in this neighbourhood, which was originally built for Philips employees last century.

Open Monumentendag is a Dutch favorite. With 80-85% of Dutch municipalities and almost a million people participating in the event, it’s hard to beat. The cultural festival adds value to both citizens and event organisers. It showcases the richness and diversity of Dutch culture through the centuries, and strengthens the bonds between people and their (cultural) heritage.