Misfit - with a bunch of chamomile

Marjolein Katsma

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Share this page Photo and text © 2012 Marjolein Katsma


Tags for this photograph:
amsterdam, netherlands, look down, cover, lid, covered, misfit, monitoring well, observation well, peilbuis, straatpot, surface box, frame, concrete, white, yellow, blue label, gaps, paving slabs, concrete paving slabs, plants, weeds, chamomile, pineappleweed, wild chamomile, kamille, schijfkamille, disc mayweed, matricaria discoidea, matricaria matricaroides, boode, zevenhuizen


Part of two of my permanent themes: Look down! and Covered (see below). Also part of a mini-series of ‘misfits’.

The ‘surface boxes’ (‘straatpotten’) used in the Netherlands for monitoring wells or valves often come integrated with a concrete surround, looking like a frame from the top, with a double function: to make it easier to fit within the pavement of standard 30×30cm concrete paving slabs, and – if made of white concrete – to make the access to the box stand out from the surrounding pavement.

So what do we have here? A surface box for a monitoring well (‘peilbuis’) that sits crookedly inside a white concrete frame, which itself is visibly quite a bit smaller than the standard 30×30cm paving slabs surrounding it. The white concrete does make it more visible, but there are gaps both inside and outside the frame – providing enough of a nice environment for some small plants to shoot up in. There is the inevitable grass, but also a brave little chamomile plant!

This Wild Chamomile (Matricaria discoidea, formerly matricaria matricaroides) also goes by common names Pineappleweed or Disc Mayweed, or Schijfkamille in Dutch, which is excellent to make Chamomile tea of – but I would not pick it from here, next to the road in the middle of Amsterdam…

Looking at all the gaps, I actually doubt if the white concrete frame is integrated with the surface box; the latter is made by Boode in Zevenhuizen, as evidenced by the blue label in the yellow-painted cast-iron lid, with the word ‘peilbuis’ cast right into the lid (much less subject to the wear and tear of passing feet than the synthetic blue labels!). Boode, a Dutch firm, specialize in water well equipment and drilling, and operate internationally by now.

I rather liked the combination of yellow-lidded surface box, white frame, and green plants with the yellow chamomile flowers!

Covered is about the covers that give (or deny) access to the world below our pavings, especially in our cities, and how they are placed in, or clash with, the pavement. At the very least these covers prevent us from tripping or falling into holes.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1

Suggested product (Click on the image for more options)

Matted print, black matte

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Artwork Comments

  • Hans Bax
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