Van Veeteren-My review. In Swedish with English subtitles. Available on DVD

Van Veeteren

So I have seen Van Veeteren films one through to and including number nine.  There are more films-I am not quite sure how many at present.

It took me longer to get into Van Veetern than with Varg Veum.  I spent some of the films somewhat confused. Although not realising I was at the time.  Since for some reason I ha assumed that Van Veetern was a Dutch series because I thought Van Veetern was a Dutch name.

As a lover of scenery watching especially in foreign/ different countries I kept telling myself, ah that’s a cobbled street, those are old stone houses, that’s a narrow winding lane.  This is all in the Netherlands.  Now there’s a harbour, or is it a lake.  Now there’s a lot of water.  It definitely looks like sea.

Hmm.  This is a really long over flying shot of the sea now.  Perhaps this shot is between Islands? I’m confused.  OK I’m pretty sure that the Nederlands doesn’t have this much sea..

Oh well.,  Not that my discovery (that Van Veetern is not set in the Netherlands) really mattered so much.  Was that the nagging feeling in the back of my head about something.  Was it the old wooden houses style that must have born born out of some learnt familiarity now.  With Scandinavian scenery.

Though some elements of scenery are as always, interchangeable.  Unfixed or is it fixed.  The eponymous places or work, industrial workshops, factories.  Municipal buildings.  Only the architecture will vary a little.

Sometimes I observe forests in film and decide one is more ancient than the other .  Then I remember that the younger, fir forest of Spruce that for example Varg Veum traipses up, may well have been cut down and replanted.  Re-grown.  Still I digress.

My first thought about Van Veeteren was that the initial flavour of it was quite intense.  The drama was darkly lit, particularly inside the Police Station.  In particular the inner interview room.  The colours in the films themselves are dark blues, black, hard greys, flashes of white.

I especially liked the font of the subtitles as I have mentioned in my preview.  The font-the name of which I do not know lent an indelibly interesting old school Eastern Bloc edge or style to Van Veeteren.

Well I liked the font and the combination of the font for the subtitles with the deeply coloured palette of black night and dark doings really worked together well.  For me.

There are bright daylight scenes too.  Mostly in melted snow and the much mentioned “summer”.  which it seems everybody looks forward to.

The crimes are fairly horrific.  There is a small unit of Detectives: a woman Detective, (Detective Inspector) Moreno, her partner Detective Inspector Munster and a Boss.  For the life of me I canna remember the Police chief boss.  There must have been one.

I noticed in time that each main character gets a film or story of their own.  A device which I liked.  Since you get to know the characters better and their films are individually intense.  Dramatic.  So Van Veeteren gets a story, as do  Detective Inspectors Moreno and her partner Munster.

Now the second thought to add to those first thoughts above which is: Van Veeteren is like an alternate dramatic universe version of Wallander. Yes, not quite the same.  But different and the same.  Van Veeteren is more elderly than Wallander as Van Veetern has retired already from the Police Force.

Van Veeteren does that elderly Detective style.    Ever spry and wise, intuitive of thinking.  A thinking which is often born of experience. Of people, emotions and the things people do.

The look of the filmic style of Van Veeteren seems slightly older than now. I am guessing 2000 or thereabouts.  This appears both unusual and slightly dated at first however I felt that this older style went with the font and matched well.

This drama grew on me over time after which I didn’t think of Van Veeteren as dated in appearance any more.

I mentioned that Van Veeteren has retired from the Police Force.  We are introduced to him in the beginning as he wonders into a second-hand bookshop.  Van Veetern is instantly in seventh heaven. So we know that he likes old books.

Van Vetteren asks the owner:
“How much?..

Then Van Veetern is called into the police Station to help on a case.  And he pretty much never leaves.  Well he does but only to be called back yet again.

Or Van Veeteren is visited for in-depth discussions on a case by the tough and serious Detective Moreno.  She and Van Veeteren drink tea and consult on cases in Van Veeteren’s beautiful book lined rooms. Where he lives with his wife.  In the bookshop, in the narrow cobbled street, where the lamplights twinkle.


I discovered this information (see below) after writing the above review.  It explains a lot! Now I know why I was confused about countries.

Plus I discovered today in my local library quite serendipitously that the two books I had chosen (whilst looking for Jo Nesbo) by 
by Håkan Nesser were:
“An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery”.

The books are: The Weeping Girl (2013) and Hour of The Wolf (2012)
Håkan Nesser is described on the frontispiece  as “The godfather of Swedish crime”

I do apologise for my lack of geographical knowledge about the Netherlands.  As it has been pointed out to me since writing this review that the Netherlands has a large coast line.

At the time of watching Van Veeteren I was mainly fixed upon the idea that it was set in the country, hence I was confused about the appearance of sea.. When probably-on reflection-the action was just moving to another country.  Mythical or otherwise.  (see below) So in effect I am apologising for misunderstanding a mythical construct of countries!  Oh well..


Sourced and quoted from Wikipedia: 7th December 2014

Van Veeteren
“Van Veeteren is a fictional retired Detective Chief Inspector and is the main character in a series of ten novels by Håkan Nesser of which nine have been filmed.  In the films, the character of van Veeteren is played by Sven Wolter”.

The Stage
“The novels take place in a fictional town called Maardam, situated somewhere in a northern European country resembling the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Poland.  Maardam has around 300 000 inhabitants (according the the first novel, The Mind’s eye)”

The Person
“The main character, Van Veeteren, is in his sixties.  In the first novels he is till a Detective Chief Inspector: in the last five novels he is retired, but sometimes leaves his antiquarian book store to help out with investigations. in his youth, he was a student at the University of Maardam.  Van Veeteren is a bit grumpy and cynical, enjoys dark beer and chess.  he has two children, Erich and Jess. he is divorced, but meets  a new woman, Ulrike Fremdli, during the series”.

“Van Veeteren is very intuitive when it comes to reading people.  He has only one unsolved case in his resume’, The Case G”.

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