Exhibition Seeing the Forest through the Trees

Published on
May 25, 2010

Seeing the Forest Through the Trees, Exhibition at the Wageningen UR Library
1 November 2010 - 31 March 2011, Monday to Friday, 9 am - 5 pm
Special Collections Reading Room, Forum (building 102), Droevendaalsesteeg 2, Wageningen

The exhibition shows a selection of the most beautiful and most unique illustrated publications on trees and forest from 1500 to 1950. We see how the thinking on trees and forest has developed over the centuries. The exhibition offers old prints and maps depicting Dutch forests, and visitors can see how the forest has been studied using various techniques such as stereo and aerial photography. Particularly interesting is a loose-leaf publication containing 100 wafer-thin tree samples each mounted on a small paper sheet.

Starting in Classical Antiquity, doctors described trees in herbals that explained the medicinal effects of crops. Old agricultural literature discusses cultivating and enlarging forests. Since the Middle Ages forests have been threatened by excessive logging for ship building and cattle grazing. Between the Middle Ages and the 18th century, interest in exotic trees and wood developed and was fed by the supply from overseas contacts and trade. In the eighteenth century, groups in France and Germany tried to raise economic forest management to a higher level. Inspired by landscape painting, individuals, particularly in England, gave attention to enlarging the picturesque effect of park forests and forests. Around 1800, several encyclopaedic survey works with coloured plates of all known exotic and indigenous trees were published. At the end of the nineteenth century, we see the government increasingly taking over the role of private landowners in planning forests on wasteland such as sand drift. Under the influence of Jac.P. Thijsse and others, experiencing and enjoying the forest became widely accepted for everyone in the twentieth century.

In 2010, The Royal Dutch Forestry Association (KNBV) is celebrating its 100th anniversary. This will be celebrated with scores of activities in the jubilee’s theme: Long Live the Forest! This exhibition is one of the jubilee's activities. Furthermore, the United Nations has proclaimed 2011 the International Year of Forests because forests are indispensible for ecosystems, biodiversity and climate development on our Earth.

For more information, contact Liesbeth Missel in Special Collections at 0317-482701 or 0317-484546.

(Newsletter 5-2010)

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