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Vóór alles het Hoofdnummer

In 2018 I focust on one of the biggest non-commissioned project of my career as a photographer. ‘Vóór alles het Hoofdnummer’ was about unraveling the deeper meaning of one of the oldest and most traditional sporting events of the Netherlands, called ‘the Varsity’. A rowing regatta over 3 kilometers on the Amsterdam-Rijn Channel. Each year, on a desolate spot under a train bridge over this channel near the city of ‘Houten’, the students of Holland block inland shipping to organise a race between University rowing clubs. The race between the ‘Old Fours’ (called ‘Hoofdnummer’) is one of the most important victories a student-rower can achieve in his/her career and has been around since 1878. I became curious about the context and double meaning behind this unorthodox event. I visited, portrayed and interviewed all the living winners of this race. From the oldest ‘Dirk Bloemers’ who won the Varsity of 1946, to the winner of the 2018 edition. Among them are Olympic medallists like ‘Nico Rienks’, ‘Ronald Florijn’ and ‘Tone Wieten’. All in their traditional club blazers and with irreplaceable memorabilia.

The project resulted in a limited edition coffee table book that is still available for purchase.

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