Reuzenarbeid. Giant labor – The construction of the modern Netherlands in pictures 1861-1918.

All over the country, construction activities were buzzing and new canals, railroads, locks and bridges were created. The construction of the North Sea Canal connected Amsterdam directly to the sea. Rotterdam also got a Nieuwe Waterweg canal. The Netherlands had the world’s largest lock and Europe’s largest railroad bridge. Huge jobs were being done. The Dutch contracting industry became a mature industry.

At a time when photography was still in its infancy, the minister decided to record the construction of national public works. The best photographers of the time were called in. Historian and geographer Willem van der Ham rescued this extraordinary collection of photographs from oblivion.

Reuzenarbeid shows all these great works throughout the Netherlands in word and image. In special themes, Van der Ham examines the state of the art, tools and the building process, but also working conditions, the high men and the work force, national pride and he unravels the secrets of the surrounding landscape.