This year’s submissions included several that look specifically at themes associated with the Netherlands, such as air, light, and public space and its management. This excellently laid out book is a beautiful example of the last of these: a well-executed survey of the problems attendant on life in a land of water and waterways. Its excellent cartography and infographics, ingenious reference aids such as a sophisticated vertical depth scale up against the fore-edge, robust editing and careful design all contribute to make it accessible to a broad audience. It may seem easy, but this is quite complex material, and it is also many-levelled down to the smallest detail – though the panel did wonder what the added value of some of the subheads was.
The superb photographs are beautifully printed on uncoated paper, making this almost a photobook. In terms of design the cover departs somewhat from the tone of the interior, but thanks to (among other things) the fine ‘watery-looking’ metallic cover material one is easily seduced into picking the book up and opening it – despite its weight.