This May, seven Lumberjacks spent two weeks traveling throughout the Netherlands to experience the culture as well as the natural resource management and horticulture practices of the country. The course, Horticulture, Natural Resources and Tourism in the Netherlands, is led by Dr. Brian Oswald, Joe C. Denman Distinguished Professor of forestry, and Dr. Michael Maurer, professor of horticulture. From national parks and museums to biotech labs focused on improving flower genetics, students explored a full range of what the small but diverse country offers. Learn more about their experiences, as well as their own personal reflections by reading select journal entries from the course.
May 17, 2017
We visited a World War II concentration camp in Amersfoort today. As I already have a lot of interest in the World Wars and history in general, this was a really interesting stop that I am glad we made. The trenches really gave me perspective on how intense and scary war is. As a forestry student, I also enjoyed being in and seeing the scots pine forests.
May 18, 2017
Today was a good day. The group dynamics are starting to kick off and everyone seems nice and pleasant to be around. I’m excited to get to know them better. Today was the first bike riding day, and luckily I fell right back to into the swing of things like I had never stopped riding. We visited a campground and met a Dutch forester while we were out and about. Later, we checked the bikes back in at the hotel and caught a taxi to the BTL Biotechniques office. They showed us the kind of work they do to fight insects and diseases like leaf aphids and Dutch elm disease. I loved being able to work the injector gun that they use to inoculate for Dutch Elm, as well as finally seeing one of the tree mover trucks with the bucket made of blades.
– Jerry Weaver
May 20, 2017
After breakfast we went to the market once more to grab some things for lunch. We then made our way to the bus stop and took the wrong bus, which turned out to be a nice opportunity to view the local landscape and towns. We finally made our way to the correct destination - Hoog Veluwe National Park. Once at the national park we rented bikes and rode through the park while periodically stopping to discuss land management techniques. We then continued to ride through terrain and landscape that seemed to change faster than Texas weather. It had an overwhelmingly simplistic beauty that was breath taking and captivating. After a few stops, including one at sand dunes that had been restored, we continued on to the Mueller/ Kroller museum in the middle of the park. The museum held breathtaking artwork and is most famously known for its Van Gogh collection, but the sculpture garden was also quite interesting and beautiful. The bike ride back was faster since we did not stop as much. Finally we all returned to the bike rack and returned our bikes before making our way back to bus stop to head back to the city.
May 23, 2017
Today was another bike riding day, but it was a lot easier than the others because the terrian was flat. Our first stop was a genetic flower market called Zabo, and we got to learn about the bulbs of flowers and how they are distributed. Our next stop was another genetic flower market called Sande. I did not know anything about these bulbs or flowers so it was really cool to learn about them and how viruses can affect them. We then biked down to the coast and it was cold and windy.
May 26, 2017
At the crack of dawn, we all gathered outside the hotel and took the bus to the Aalsmeer Flower Market. This place was cool. It’s a system of warehouses and offices where vast quantities of cut stem flowers are bought and sold. We walked over the warehouse floor and saw the speed and precision that enables this market to move billions of stems a year. We also saw two of the trading floors where company representatives buy flowers from the sellers. The market uses a Dutch bidding system where the bid starts high and falls until a company is willing to bid. After the tour, we took the bus back to the city center and split up.
May 28, 2017
I got to check seeing the Anne Frank house off of my bucket list today. The tour was super interesting, and I wanted to read every caption for everything. This is definitely a museum everyone should see in their lifetime. After the Anne Frank house we went to see the Church in the Attic and the Old Church, which were both beautiful. To finish up our last day activities, we went to the zoo. I have definitely never been to a zoo where you could be so close to the animals. It was a lot of fun and a great way to end our trip.