Autour de Boscoop il est encore possible d'admirer de nombreux moulins, souvent en bois, encore en mouvement...
Around Boscoop it is even possible to admire many mills, often in wood, again in movement...
Favorite thing: Over the past 100 years, Boskoop nurseries have been growing ornamental trees and shrubs. There are about 1000 nurseries in Boskoop on approximately 2,200 acres. Some 900 of these are growers, and the other 100 are grower/exporters. Almost half of the growers own a nursery of 1-2 acres and are a 1-2 person operation. Many of the nurseries are less than one acre, and the owner works it part time while working full time at a larger nursery. Most of the production is sold to the exporter/growers from these small operations.
Favorite thing: Much of Holland is below sea level, and an elaborate system of canals, dikes, and pumps are constantly at work draining the land and maintaining the water table at a constant level. Travel along the canals by boat is still fairly common, and locks are utilized to go from one polder to another.
Favorite thing: Five hundred years ago this forested land was developed and civilized by a method practiced throughout much of Holland. A section of land was purchased from the crown as an estate. The trees were removed, and a raised road was built with soil removed from a ditch along each side of the road. The land along each side of the road was divided into fifty acre parcels, then sold, and drained with ditches at right angles to the road. Houses were built from the cut down trees, and dikes were constructed to prevent flooding. Since the land was at different elevations, each level was designated a polder, and wind driven pumps (windmills) raised the water from one polder to another until it finally flowed into the ocean.
Favorite thing: If a line is drawn from Amsterdam to Rotterdam and another is drawn from The Hague to Utrecht, Boskoop is located at their intersection, along both sides of the River Gouwe. In 1515 Boskoop consisted of 40 houses constructed of wood and thatch. Its location on major land and water routes, its fertile soil, and its enterprising people enabled Boskoop to become a commercial center of some prominence. Its development as a nursery center can be traced back to the 1740's when the production and shipment of strawberries proved so successful that the development of nurseries producing fruit trees and berry plants became the natural next step. By the late 1700's Boskoop was a fruit tree production center of Europe. As time passed, the nurseries expanded into the production of street trees and then hedge type plants.
Construction in Boskoop is very expensive because Boskoop sits on an ancient bog. Construction must either be anchored into the ancient sea bed, which is about 60 feet deep in this area, or "float" in place on the bog on a special kind of raft. Until fairly recently, heavy structures were built on the top of alternating layers of logs (which float) and cow hides (which seal out the water).
Fondest memory: Even some old cathedrals were built in this manner. Gouda Cathedral is an example. Modern structures are built on pilings driven into the old sea floor which is good, hard sand. There is no fear of the structure gradually sinking or twisting. Some of the newest structures are built on a thick layer of light concrete, which keeps it afloat.
The canals have always been important to these nurserymen. Until recently they were used for the transportation of nursery stock. Each nursery is long and narrow, bounded by canals with a narrow path through the center that is just wide enough for a wheelbarrow. The nursery stock was dug, loaded onto boats, and taken to a temporary storage house. Assembled orders were also loaded onto boats and taken to the train station for shipment to the foreign buyer. Today a number of the canals have been filled in and paved, and trucks have replaced the canal boats.
Fondest memory: The canals still provide drainage for the nurseries and maintain a constant water table. They also help moderate the climate by providing considerable exposed water surface to the atmosphere. Weeds can be collected from the canals and used for fertilizing the fields.
The Nursery Exchange is very fascinating and would probably only ever work in Boskoop. The Exchange is a division of the Boskoop Nurserymen's Association and owns a restaurant and exhibition hall. The hall is used as the Nursery Exchange, meeting the First Tuesday in December and continuing every Tuesday morning until the end of April. Thursday afternoons are added during March and April.
Fondest memory: Exporters and growers who belong to the Association make extensive use of the Exchange. Large boards are set up in the hall. Exporters purchase board space and one or two tables. The exporter posts a computer list of plants he needs to fill orders. A pink paper on the board indicates an immediate need for material. Growers come to the exchange, study the lists on the boards, and go to the exporter's table to sell him the needed plants. Agreement is reached about price, quality, and delivery dates. The Association also mediates any disputes that may later arise as a result of any dealings made in the Exchange.
There is this bridge, impressive, that rises up to let pass the boats.
It is the attraction of the city.
In addition to the nurseries, and of these houses, without fences, separated by channels!