Last weekend, about 50,000 people traveled to the Dutch TT Circuit racetrack in Assen for the 36th edition of the biggest and baddest transport event in Europe: Truckstar Festival. Photographer Sander van der Bij expected to find the usual TT-crowd—extremely loud drunks that only seem to like really loud honks and binge drinking. Instead, he found a lovely bunch of avid amateurs and serious professionals. Trucking and transport is serious business, after all.
Van der Bij walked along the entire track, where 2,200 trucks were displayed. He photographed the most beautiful trucks and their proud drivers, and he asked them to say a few words about their prized possessions.
"My entire life revolves around this truck. I even organize weddings in it, two or three times a year. Well, when people want to, of course."
"I have won 16 trophies but not with this truck. I sold my other truck recently, for 26,000 euro [$29,000]. So that’s not bad. Not bad at all."
"I’ve been polishing this baby since 7 AM. But it started to rain, so I had to start all over."
"This entire row of trucks will compete in the decibel competition. We’ll ride along the track past a machine that measures decibels. I think I have a pretty good shot at winning."
"I have been waiting for this moment for ten years. It’s really nice to be here, in between all these beautiful trucks.”
"My cabin is decorated with guns from 'The Expendables.' I’ve been trying to get in touch with Sylvester Stallone for three years now, so I can show him the truck. So far he hasn’t responded."
“I am trucking all year 'round. I visit about 25 festivals a year. I make a living from all the prizes I win."
"I’ve been coming here for 30 years with this truck here, on the left. The one with the flames. But, to be honest, I’m mostly here for the beautiful nature. I love riding my bike through the parks here.”
“I have been coming here since 2004, to promote my company. Truckstar is nice and big. There is a good atmosphere. It’s good for business."
"I ride this truck all week long, for work. I have been driving it since I was 18, so that’s 18 years. I park it here every year. I’ve driven more than 2 million kilometers [1.2 million miles] in this thing."
"It’s the first time I’m competing. I brought my whole family. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also my last time. I’ve been polishing my truck since Wednesday."
"I borrowed the trees. I come here every year to show how we used to hoist trees back in the day. Down the road they show how they hoist them now, which is about six times quicker.”
"All we do here is take all the wrecked caravans for demolition, after they have been destroyed in the caravan race. But we enjoy ourselves, with a little beer and karaoke."
"I've been working on this thing for the past four years. I finished it last week, right in time for the festival. Built it with two guys, from scrap. It was good fun, but I’m looking to get rid of it now."
"I've had some setbacks today—had to deal with some leakage. I have to go and look at it now because I have to be on the track soon."