Between the land

A research about borders


The origin of the word ‘fence’ comes from the fourteenth century with the word fens, a term meaning defense or protection. 

The history of civilization is closely tied with the history of fences. It emerged from the notions of agriculture, family and property. Fences helped institutionalise the collective recognition of private property as a visual and open declaration of intention and  a commitment to the land.


But were fences used to access the land or to mark the land?


As the dictionary states, and on first impressions, a fence is a structure serving as a barrier. We make an interpretation of its connotation, rather than needing to have physical contact with it; we know we should not trespass and we know that this portion of terrain belongs to someone. 

A fence is not just a boundary. It doesn’t only divide, but also connects spaces, it is a reminder that two spaces are standing next to each other. It directs movement and enhances the appearance of a space.

This book is a study about fences used in the land and how they describe the landscape of Drenthe, a region in the north of the Netherlands.

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© 2020 Caterina Tioli