May 25, 2013

Photo essay of botanical garden in Haren

Filed under: Dutch first,History,Photography by Branko Collin @ 2:56 pm

Jip Moors and his father Holly went to the volunteer-run botanical garden in Haren and asked each volunteer what their favourite spot was. This led to an album of 16 photos by Jip Moors. Father Holly interviewed the volunteers and wrote the accompanying text.

The hortus botanica features amongst others a Chinese garden, a rock garden, an apple orchard and a bamboo forest.

The Hortus Haren was founded in 1626 in Groningen by pharmacist Henry Munting out of necessity—colleagues sent him plants from all over Europe and he needed a place to put them. Munting’s knowledge of plants grew enormously and at 1654 at age 71 he even became the first botany professor of the republic. Later, the Muntings had to sell the garden to the state because they couldn’t afford the upkeep, but they were hired for generations to tend the garden.

In 1917 the garden was moved to the nearby town of Haren because it was getting too big. The owners wanted to add new greenhouses for which there was no room at the inner city location. Currently the garden occupies 200,000 square metres.

(Photo: Jip Moors)

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April 21, 2011

Little guerilla garden in Amsterdam

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 4:05 pm

This prim little garden can be found at the Hygiea Square in Amsterdam. Guerilla garden is perhaps too strong a word for something so small and neat.

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February 8, 2010

Bathroom with vertical garden

Filed under: Architecture,Design by Branko Collin @ 12:25 pm

The owner of an Amsterdam canal apartment had to suffer the indignity of just seeing a wall whenever he looked out of his bathroom window, so interior designers i29 fixed that for him: they added a vertical garden to the wall.

This was enough to land them the Bathroom Design Award 2010 in the Home category. (Unfortunately, the entire ‘site’ is made of Flash, so I cannot link to the 2010 page directly. Just click “Winnaars 2010.”)

The other category, Hotel, was won by Marjolein Garritsen for the bathroom in the Ilyushin Il-18 based hotel room we wrote about two weeks ago.

(Photo: Horizon Photoworks, used with permission. Link:

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August 15, 2009

Socialist campground De Paasheuvel [HAR 2009]

Filed under: Nature by Branko Collin @ 5:02 pm

The early 20th century was the heyday of Dutch polarisation. Unions, universities, newspapers, magazines and broadcasting corporations were founded, all based on a certain religion or ideology. The three main pillars were Protestantism, Catholicism and Socialism.

One of the remnants of this great societal movement is De Paasheuvel campground (the Easter Hill), on which hacker conference Hacking at Random is held. De Paasheuvel was started in the 1920s as the first communist campground. And although the campground is now a commercial venture that tries not to put too much emphasis on its past, there are still a few clues here and there that tell the visitor of the history of the place where many a left-wing politico received part of their training.

The little castle-like house shown in the photo above is called the Voorpost, and it predates the campground by a decade and a half. It was built as a Summer place of the Rolandes Hagendoorn family in 1906, and bought by the Arbeiders Jeugd Centrale (Workers Youth Center) in 1922.

The Zonnehal (Sun Hall) was built in 1939 in the style of the Amsterdamse School, and is used during HAR as one of the conference halls.

The grounds also hold a tiny wild life garden called Heemtuin de Heimanshof, which was founded by the AJC, and maintained by them for a long time. Although former AJC members still work on the garden, Jonge Socialisten (the youth branch of the socialist and social democratic parties) and other volunteers now help with the heavy lifting.

(These and other photos should appear in higher resolution in our Flickr account after Sunday.)

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August 19, 2008

Every new house an outdoor space and a bike shed

Filed under: Architecture,Bicycles by Branko Collin @ 8:11 am

Ella Vogelaar, Minister for Housing, Neighbourhoods and Integration, wants to force builders to produce an outdoor space (balcony or garden) and bike shed for every apartment built. An earlier obligation to do so was dropped in 2003. Vogelaar claims the market insufficiently provides the need for outdoor living space and bicycle storage, and so she is making the provision of this part of the building code, the complex set of rules governing the construction of buildings.

The ministery’s press release refers to an extensive study into how the Dutch live, the Woningbehoefte Onderzoek (Study into Living Needs), suggesting that this research was somehow the basis of the minister’s decision. Although I could not find anything about a shortage of bike sheds or balconies, I did find this interesting little pie chart (with small typos original typos introduced by me, now removed) on page 11 of the results of the Woononderzoek Nederland 2006, entitled “Types of outdoor spaces that houses have”:

Balcony plus garden 15%
Garden 58%
Balcony 23%
Communal garden 1%
No outdoor space 3%

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