Peter de Krom (38) grew up in Hoek van Holland and has lived in Rotterdam for five years. The art gallery now houses a retrospective of his photographs of Hoek van Holland. Pictures full of dry humor, which should ensure that we Rotterdammers embrace Hoek van Holland more as part of our city.
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In fact, this exhibition is a farewell, for Peter has since stopped being a photographer and is now focusing on recycling bunkers as an ecological place to live: Cocondo. The first will be in Hoek van Holland.
Why did you move to Rotterdam?
“I was never one of those Hoekenees who was disappointed that we belonged to Rotterdam. I just saw it as an opportunity. A place where you could go to the cinema, go to school and play laser tag. As a teenager, I knew , that I wanted to live there. During my photography education I lived in Breda. After that I did not immediately move to Rotterdam – although it would have been more logical, because you end up in the cultural sector faster – but I deliberately decided to go back to Hoek van Holland “I knew I would not be happy there in the sense of ‘social fun life’, but that I could do a lot of free work there.”
Did that time in Breda change your view of Hoek van Holland?
“The Academy of Fine Arts makes you look at your environment differently, more objectively. In those years, I realized what a strange place Hoek van Holland really was. That it does not have a very clear culture or identity, while surrounding municipalities such as Westland have. I found the Hoekenezen a bit searching, as if they felt misunderstood by Rotterdam. The board is thirty kilometers away – it is not found anywhere else – and the inhabitants must be part of it all. People come and go there all the time too, creating a strange mix of people and situations. Every summer, for example, 2,000 Rotterdammers come to the summer camp. It makes the village changeable, creates a different atmosphere, and that’s why the stories lurk. ”
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How do you feel in Rotterdam?
“What makes Rotterdam so beautiful is that we are not too proud, so I try not to be. I was excited about the idea of making Rotterdam the capital of the Netherlands. I understood the point, but you should not want that: Amsterdam is the perfect lightning rod for Rotterdam. I’m always very fanatical about Rotterdam not becoming too popular. I do not like when things are popular. That’s why ugliness is so beautiful, and Hoek van Holland is an example of that. I also likes the Keep Rotterdam Ugly Instagram account.R Rotterdam can be proud of what it does but not too much of what it is.You should always be able to change yourself as a city and reinvent yourself.Not words , but actions, actually. Haha, pussy … it always comes back to that. “
What is it like to see your work in the Art Gallery?
“It is a great honor and the perfect end to a period. I also see it as a piece of recognition of Hoek van Holland as part of Rotterdam. In fact, with the exhibition, you step into the feeling of Hoek van Holland. Or: what it does to me when I’m in that village. It is, of course, very subjective. It does not show so much what Hoek van Holland is, but is more a look at how it can be. I think you can keep making stories like this there, because it only gets more extreme. The metro runs a little to the beach and the municipality suddenly sees tourist opportunities and an income model, which makes the municipality invest more. It goes against Hoekenezen: ‘Now suddenly …’
What do you think is typical of Hoek van Holland?
One hundred years ago, when Hoek van Holland became part of Rotterdam, pavilions were built on the beach, and richer Rotterdamers came with the cart and beautiful clothes. But it quickly became a place where all walks of life came and at one point it got flatter: a very one-sided selection of beach bars competing with each other and all having the same Buddha statues, with such a fountain upside down. Oh man, I’m really bad at that. Like all the buildings in the form of ships and containers. It’s a combination of clichés. But what you’re going to see now, and I think that’s very positive, is that young, creative Rotterdam entrepreneurs are seeing opportunities, resulting in things like Plastic Café and Pele Surf Shack. It would be great if Rotterdam’s courage and attraction could also benefit public space. ”
What do you think of the nickname ‘Rotterdam Beach’?
“‘The expression, it’s just not possible. You should talk about Hoek van Holland. It’s so much in that name. It’s not just the place Hoek van Holland, it’s literally’ the corner of Holland ‘. Like when you sweep the house: everything goes in a corner and gathers there.I hope Rotterdammere will embrace Hoek van Holland more as the crazy place that belongs to them as well as their part of town.But with recognition for the real Hoekenezen.It’s about 10,000 Rotterdammers who do not always feel like Rotterdammers.It would be nice if they started to feel a little more Rotterdam than Westlands.But they do not have to feel as Rotterdam as a Schiebroeker or Kralinger.It’s the charm that they are a little out. A bit like Asterix and Obelix, who bravely oppose Gaul, or in this case Rotterdam. ”
The exhibition ‘Hoek van Holland’ by Peter de Krom can be seen in Kunsthallen until 24 May 2020.
Westzeedijk 341, 3015AA Rotterdam