Dutch Dikes

Book coverDutch Dikes
Book coverDutch Dikes
Book coverDutch Dikes
Book coverDutch Dikes

Dykes, of course, are one of the most important features of the man-made landscape of the Netherlands. When you come to think about it, it’s curious that there has never been a comprehensive atlas of the ‘architecture’ and engineering of dykes.

The panel compared a number of different atlas-style books to see how the designers and editors present data and arrange the diverse range of information these works contain. The method used here uses a layered system and is a model of clarity. At the same time, panel members were impressed to find that the book is aimed not just at those in the field but is designed to appeal to broader interests. However, that is not to say that Dutch Dikes will appeal to everyone: it is full of maps and plans, schematic representations of typologies and profiles, comparison maps and cross sections – not the sort of material to reveal itself to a swift uninformed glance. 

Even so, the editors and designers have succeeded in creating a clear navigation system that lets you easily find your way through the book and dig as deep as you want. The system consists of printed bands and triangles that are bled off to left and right on the pages, making them identifiable on the fore-edge. For the rest the book contains a generous assortment of beautiful Dutch landscape photos, historical images and enlarged map sections. This makes browsing and comparing an armchair journey through the Netherlands. One minor point of criticism is that this eagerness to impart information sometimes goes a little too far and then it becomes almost decoration: the fiddly dyke map printed on the cover with UV varnish clashes with the otherwise bold cover – and the vertically placed dyke profiles on pages 106-38 are somewhat over the top. But all in all there was much praise for this convincing and attractive way of opening up such a layered and kaleidoscopic subject.

Edition: 2014
Author: Eric-Jan Pleijster, Cees van der Veeken, Robbert Jongerius
Language: English / Dutch
Final editor: Els Brinkman
Publisher: nai010 publishers, Rotterdam
Graphic designer: Koehorst in 't Veld; photography by Eric-Jan Pleijster, Bird-Eye-View.nl, Jeroen Musch
Lithographer: NPN Drukkers, Breda
Printer: NPN Drukkers, Breda
Binder: Abbringh, Groningen
Size book block (w x h x d in mm): 249 x 329 x 33
Number of pages: 344 p.
Print run: 4,000
Price: € 49.50
ISBN: 978 94 6208 151 2 (E) / 978 94 6208 150 5 (D)
Font and foundry: Grot10 (A2-Type)
Binding style: sewn hardback; braille spot UV varnish on matt scratch resistant laminated cover
Material: 130gsm Fly 06 extraweiß 1.2 (interior and endpapers), 135gsm woodfree glazed MC (binding)