Rob Severein

2018 - 2020

In 'Foorbij Nij Altoenae’ (Past Nij Altoenae) I take you to a country beyond the end of the inhabited world.

To discover a tough area in the far northwest of Dutch province Friesland.

Het Bildt. Empty and deserted. Unruly. And with infinite distances.

A land that refuses to please. Where silence reigns.

But yet, there are still a number of people living there ...

Inspired by the works of Dutch poet and musician Jan Kleefstra, 'Foorbij Nij Altoenae' captures the harshness of the landscape and combines it with portraits and stills into a series of photographs exploring a fascination with the lives of headstrong people tucked away from the everyday and their connection with this grim land.

People who go their own way. Who don't allow themselves to be led by the delusion of the day. By what is ‘new’ and what should change. Bound to each other by their own, though on the brink of fading, centuries-old language.

But, like most stories, ‘Foorbij Nij Altoenae’ is an interpretation of the truth. The work bounces between fact and fiction, between reality and myth.

A book will be published mid 2020.

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  • 1. Frozen sea

  • 2. The old road that leads to the village of Nij Altoenae in the far northwest of the Dutch province of Friesland. A region known as Het Bildt.

  • 3. Ilse Faber (38) has been living on Het Bildt all her life. Alone with her dog Bella and her horses she lives the life she wants.

  • 4. Hermetic. Almost symbolic for the ‘leave-me-alone-mentality’ of the people living in this vast and empty land.

  • 5. The endless emptiness past the village of Nij Altoenae on Het Bildt. "I feel bound to this barren land. Like almost everyone else. Responsible.” — Ilse Faber (38)

  • 6. An old Lincoln Continental as a symbol of authenticity, freedom and an independent life.

  • 7. Mud roads in spring and autumn characterise the unruly country past the village of Nij Altoenae.

  • 8. The absolute silence and darkness at night on Het Bildt.

  • 9. Tony Tingen (63) is one of the many creative freebooters that characterise the area. Originally from the Dutch province of Drenthe, he 'washed up' on Het Bildt 14 years ago. “Here I can just be who I am."

  • 10. Still life with a rat.

  • 11. The evening falls on the Nieuwe Bildtdijk, the last dike before the Wadden Sea past the village of Nij Altoenae.

  • 12. The barren soil of the area past the village of Nij Altoenae.

  • 13. The barren soil of the area past the village of Nij Altoenae.

  • 14. A new day on Het Bildt, past the village of Nij Altoenae.

  • 15. Ilse’s kitchen

  • 16. A trailer left behind. "This country is not for everyone. They do say: "If you survive two winters in this land then you’re winter hardy, after 7 years of living here you'll never leave.” — Tony Tingen (63)

  • 17. Geja Kuiken (34). Used to live in the Swedish countryside but couldn't ground there. After 3 years she returned to Het Bildt and started a new life.

  • 18. Portrait of Jacob Rodenhuis (49). "Everyone's equal here. No matter who you are, where you're from, native or not, faith, man/woman. Everyone goes their own way, we like to leave each other alone. But we're there, if it's really necessary. What binds us is freedom, tolerance, our language … And this egalitarianism. It's in this land. Our balance.”

  • 19. Moon over Het Bildt.

  • 20. Into the trees.