Boerenverstand


Vechtstreek

Collecting stories by collecting wood


A field gate in situ

Commissioned by Centrum Beeldende Kunst Utrecht and Landschap Erfgoed Utrecht, 2008-2009

Wooden field gates are landmarks in the flat Dutch landscape. The Vechtstreek (the area along the Vecht river, between Utrecht and Amsterdam) used to host many field gates. They were hand made by farmers from scrap wood and contributed to the specific identity of the region. Nowadays random and unspecific metal gates that are not prominent in the landscape often replace them. Landschap Erfgoed Utrecht and Centrum Beeldende Kunst Utrecht (CBKU) invited four artists and designers to develop a new field gate for the Vechtstreek. The winning design by Krijn Christiaansen en Cathelijne Montens focuses on bringing the habit of making wooden field gates back to life.

The word ‘Boerenverstand’ means horse sense and refers to the inventive farmer that builds and restores his gates with all sorts of leftover wood. During the spring of 2008 the designers (with their occasional firm Hekwerk) collected old wood from 27 different farmyards in the Vecht area. The wooden planks were carefully documented and photographed and the stories about their origins were written down. With this wood 27 new gates were composed. The gates have been coated with a black layer of polyurethane, which accentuates their silhouette in the landscape.

A farmer handling the remains of an old field gate

A farmer handling the remains of an old field gate

A field gate in situ

A field gate in situ, photo by Daan Verschuur