Kester Freriks spent thirteen months visiting twenty-five Dutch landscapes which in his opinion can still be called wildernesses: places where, even if water levels are regulated, nature can still do what it pleases. Verborgen wildernis presents Freriks’s stories alongside historical maps from the Special Collections in the library of the University of Amsterdam. Jan W.H. Werner, curator of maps and atlases at the library, tells us about the maps.
The book follows the chronology of Freriks’s expeditions, giving us thirteen chapters for thirteen months. For each chapter the designer has linked text and images by taking one colour from the maps and using it as an extra tint in divider pages and chapter headings. The maps appear mainly as details, since in a book of this format a whole map would be illegibly small. The slightly tinted paper copes equally well with text and maps.
Freriks writes across the page, Werner in two columns. Werner also provides technical descriptions of the maps, generally at the top of the page flanked by a small bled-off detail. One panel member felt that the book suffered from an excess of details, tints and styles. The others were much taken with the considered elegance created by the choices made.