The Royal Axis is the area between the cities of Assen and Groningen in the north of the Netherlands. This is an important economic development zone spread out over two provinces, which has only recently started to present itself as a specific area. The name Royal Axis was coined in 1996. To promote the brand name Royal Axis, a series of cultural initiatives was planned. On the basis of the works of the social geographer and Groningen professor H.J. Keuning (1904-1974), SteenhuisMeurs went in search of the grammar of the area, not only in respect of the landscape, but also in an economic, social and folkloric sense.
Two subjects converge in the essay: Keuning’s frame of mind and the opportunities offered by the system of cultural traditions in this area. Which were the leading principles behind the construction of the landscape, the economy, the social structures and traditions, and could these possibly be transposed to the present? How can a logical connection be restored between town planning and the long lines of land use – how can partition thinking be changed to a development through which patterns are continued and reinterpreted? The infrastructural lines crossing the area, i.e. the Noord Willems-canal, the A28 motorway and the railway line Assen-Groningen, play a crucial part in this connection.
A part of the study consists of a number of interviews with, among others, historical geographer Hans Elerie Ph.D, landscape historian Prof. Theo Spek (RUG) and other experts from the area itself.