‘This is the Netherlands’, it says on a cover in a colour scheme that looks suspiciously like the German flag. The book is the report of an art project whose title translates as ‘The Service, research body for art applications for the Lodge of the Second Chamber’ and was the brainchild of Martijn Engelbregt in his search for the ideal artwork for the lower chamber of Parliament in The Hague.
Everything The Service (De Dienst) produced in the year that it existed – and that was a very great deal – is poured out over us in this book. It is to Engelbregt’s credit that it has all stayed so lucid and legible. The graphic designer in the artist stood up and elected for a super-sharp four-column grid that has been filled with exuberance and variety, but at the same time with discipline. The book may be large and fat but it is still as light as a feather thanks to the vast bulk of the paper. Something else to make one cheerful.
One afterthought: the back of the book would have been better as the front. It is a lot prettier.