“My, how much has changed in 100 years”, notes a visitor in the guestbook of the Casteelse Poort Museum in Wageningen after exploring the exhibition “100 years WUR; Made for City and World”. This modest yet informative exhibit provides an overview of the work of Wageningen scientists and showcases their discoveries and hobbies and the impact they have had. It will certainly be interesting for WUR employees (including English speakers) and for residents of Wageningen—as well as for anyone who appreciates history even just a little bit.
"Zoete most" and music
Highlights from the history of the Agricultural College (AC) are shown in three rooms on the first floor, decorated in the WUR colours: green and blue. Of course, this starts with the predecessors of the AC and its official founding in 1918.
The research into “zoete most” (a non-alcoholic fruit wine) by the first Professor of Horticulture, Prof. Sprenger, is displayed, along with his paintings of apples and a self-portrait. Mathematics professor Van Uven was a great fan of music and founded the Wageningen Student Orchestra (WSO) in 1919, which later added a choir and became the Wageningen Student Choir and Orchestra Association. He served as the conductor until 1957. There is also a story dedicated to Mr Mas Sewandono, a scientific officer at the AC, who conducted research into the sustainability of forestry in Indonesia in the 1930s.
The next room focuses on “unsung accomplishments”. In 1951, Ms Mien Willinge Prins-Visser was appointed as Professor of Domestic Agricultural Economics in Wageningen, the first woman in a sea of men. During her inauguration, she talked about the difficult start experienced by the field of domestic economics in Wageningen. She became a pioneer in her field. In the area dedicated to her, which is strategically located near an old mantelpiece, there is model furniture that effectively creates a living space. Weck jars with fruits and vegetables sit atop the mantel.
The Cartophoot created by Prof. Hofstee, who was appointed Professor of Sociology in 1946, is also located here. Using this demographic map of the Netherlands, made up of 800 puzzle pieces that he developed with a puzzle company, researchers were able to quickly create thematic maps (cartograms) of the composition of the Dutch population. A timeline maps out the history from the AC to WUR: from the opening of the Aula by Wilhelmina to the celebration of our 100-year anniversary this year.
Finally, the third room addresses the topics “Over liefde gesproken” (On love) with Iteke Weeda as its source, Food Valley with trendsetter Prof. Hautvast, the developments in entomology, and the research into pivotal points in nature.
This section has two videos on display: a Q&A interview with Iteke Weeda presented by Andries Knevel and an explanation of the essence and meaning of pivotal points in nature, research for which Prof. Marten Scheffer received the Spinoza Prize in 2009.
Wageningen during wartime
If you manage to make it to the top floor of the museum, take a look at the small exhibit on Wageningen during the war. This section focuses on the capitulation at Hotel de Wereld, food transport, the persecution of the Jews, the resistance in Wageningen, and the multiple evacuations of the Wageningen population. Eyewitnesses provide their accounts in the various videos.