The Efflorescence

A documentary project about Dutch festival and club culture finding its way back to relevance during pandemic times.

Mitchel Lensink
Apr 29, 2023
8 min read

Table of Contents

De Ontluiking, or the Efflorescence in English, is a book by writer Thijs Tomassen and photographer Mitchel Lensink. It's an ode to the world-leading industry of Dutch festival- and club culture. This immersive time document shows how a sector like this can regroup itself even during pandemic times, and how we can maintain hope in an ever more insecure world. These stories show how important it is for people to party uninhibitedly and how that can unite us all.

It's an almost surrealistic trip that starts with protests from the event industry under the name 'Unmute Us', through re-opening and new lockdowns, until eventually all clubs and other nightlight join forces and fight for their right to exists in our society. The ultimate climax is reached in the summer of 2022, of which we later might say 'that was a Summer of Love'.

I talk about it a little more in the video below.

Secret image preview

A selection of the images from the book can be found below, though you can also click through and visit my online archive to view the full project →


Independently published, proudly

Projects like these are no longer commissioned by magazines or newspapers, like they were in the old days. Heck, I didn't even experience those days myself. They have been long gone. This means that stories like these are only told when people find a way to do it on their own terms, on their own money, and their own time. It's liberating in a sense, sure, but it's also a test of your perserverence and really pushes your endurance.

Many times, you find yourself wondering if the story you are after is even worth it. Is it worth all the time and energy you put into it? Do people even care about this story? If they do, why is nobody else telling it? These doubts creep up on you, even when you are absolutely certain you are doing the right thing. Some stories just have to be told.

Then, the story is there. But how do you share it with the public? Even now that we are fully in the digital age, you might not believe what comes next, the only sustainable way to eternalize a story is through ink on paper. Books are still where it's at. So even when the website might goes offline, because the hosting fees make it no longer worth maintaining anymore, the book that lives on your shelves and coffeetables can never be undone. The story is no longer ours to share, it's the world's. Just where it belongs.

We paid for this book out of our own pockets (though received a little help with the marketing budget from our local government) and turned the stories that were once just thoughts and ideas, basically just air, into a beautiful paper arctifact that can live on long after us. Being independent, so without backing from an established publisher, isn't easy. But it's beautiful.

Buy the book

Do the images excite you? Want to see more of them? Perhaps even read the some 60.000 words Thijs has penned down during this special, though trying, time? Do you want to support indy publishing? I know that's a lot of questions but if you have just answered 'yes' to all of them, please consider purchasing the book. It allows us to continue making projects like these. Thank you very much in advance.

De Ontluiking (The Efflorescence)

  • 240 full color double-sided pages
  • 17x24cm (8.7x9.4 inches)
  • Sewn paperback (Patabind) with cover flaps
  • 280 grams scratch-proof laminated cover
  • 150 grams pages
  • Ships from The Netherlands

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