Veere is a historic port town in the southern Dutch province of Zeeland, and was Scotland’s primary trading gateway to Europe for several hundred years. It’s a part of Scotland’s history which isn’t widely known about, and has the potential to challenge some preconceptions about the country’s historic place in the world.
From mid-May until the first week of June 2022, I was the artist in residence at the Schotse Huizen (Scottish Houses), a local museum occupying two beautifully preserved Scottish merchants’ houses on the waterfront. My tasks included carrying out research into the historic Scottish presence, consulting with the local archives, drawing, sketching and writing about my experiences.
In 2021 I released a hand-drawn Atlas of Scotland, using maps and illustrations to tell Scotland’s story. One of the themes of the Atlas was to look at some of the fascinating ways Scotland had connected with the outside world throughout history, including the old European trade routes of Scottish merchants. Embarking on this artist residency in the Netherlands was another opportunity for me to follow that thread in much closer detail.
It was exciting to follow in the footsteps of this historic Scottish community and find out more about their lives and influence on the town. I really enjoyed the opportunity to promote positive cross-cultural relationships and increase public awareness of our shared European history.
I also wrote 3 travel diaries from Veere for the Sunday National, covering various episodes of Scottish-Dutch history and writing about my experience as artist in residence.
This project was supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.