As winter closes in in the Northern Hemisphere, as the days shorten and the temperature drops, we can all do with a little sunshine. So apply your suncream and don your sunglasses… Here Belgian documentary photographer Hendrik Braet shares images from his series The Dyke – a study of the 65 kilometres of Belgian coastline, and the oddities and absurdities along it.
“At first sight the allure of our Belgian coast on the North Sea does not suggest that we barely have a coastal strip of 65 kilometers. The fourteen coastal municipalities are practically continuously connected by a wide promenade, called the dyke. This dyke is a reflection of the Belgian population, each defining their bit of coast on their own way: the cool box tourists and their day trips, the hard working retired Fleming who has been able to buy an apartment, which results in an abundance of high-rise buildings somewhere near beach, the ‘fils à papa’ (daddy’s boys, spoiled brats) who live in abundant style in Knokke etc.
The untamed, uninhibited sea in Belgium is brutally interrupted by an unbridled building anger and a territory drift. We cannot cut the sea into pieces but as soon as we reach the beach we are pushed into different boxes.
A glimpse at the beach offers an unbelievable view: people who cannot afford a flat, rent one of the numerous beach cabins and in some coastal municipalities you fall from one exotic beach bar into the other.
In short it is extremely difficult to find peace and poetry along our Belgian coast but it was exciting to picture the Belgian and the coast in all its forms and facets…”