About me

Raesfeld Castle, Germany, 24th of July 2020

Photo: Kim van Ierssel

As a kid I could stare at the globe and maps for hours and dream of distant places. Later I also developed an interest in contemporary history. The fall of communism and the Yugoslav wars of the '90s made a big impression on me as a youngster. After a few years as a teacher in physical education I realised that working in a school environment for the rest of my life was not an option. I decided to start to study again and became an Eastern Europe expert with a focus on the former Yugoslav countries. During my studies I bought a second hand photo book of my beloved region. It became the starting point of a new adventure.

It became the starting point of a new adventure.

In the footsteps of German photographer Kurt Hielscher (1881-1948) I try to rephotograph his photos from (almost) a century ago. I learn about the histories of the places on the photos and discover the differences caused by the ravages of time. I also dived into the person and life of Kurt Hielscher and met others interested in his work both on- and offline. I gained his other photobooks from Spain, Germany, Italy, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Romania as well. This way, my hobby got out of hand and my journey is far from over.

Happy family in Dubrovnik, Croatia, 28th of April 2019

Since 2007 I am working as a relationship manager with volunteers within UNICEF The Netherlands. Together with my wife Kim (42) and sons Bouke (13) and Siebe (10) I travel around Europe, mainly in a campervan during summer and wintertime. They support me but sometimes they get enough of my quest, a project that over the years came to a standstill every now and then because of personal difficulties and currently due to the pandemic. Fortunately I found another project for during the pandemic: I bought a 1928 photobook of my homecountry: The Netherlands. The results you'll find here.  

More about Kurt Hielscher, me and the origins of my project you can watch here at my lecture for the Geographical Society of Philadelphia on the 20th of November 2020.

Below: view on the island of Korčula as seen from the peninsula of Pelješac in Croatia, 9th of August 2016. Photo: Casper  Molenaar.

In the footsteps of  Kurt Hielscher