A little while ago I went to the Hague for business reasons, and had an afternoon to spare. The day was nice, so I decided to go and have a look at the Westlands Museum, where the history of cultivating flowers and fruit under glass is highlighted. It is small but charming, and has a great museum garden where the old Westland is preserved for posterity. I’ve seldom enjoyed a museum visit more – walking through garden history must be my idea of paradise.
As a nation, we have quite a history of responding to challenges with both innovation and a dogged persistance – witness the changes that the Westland flower growers have gone through. These days, glasshouses don’t consume energy, but they generate it. Also, pests are controlled using bio-agents such as wasps and ladybirds – the days that the flower growers threatened their own health by the chemicals they used are long gone.
The same goes for the way we deal with being for a large part under sea level – so many innovations. I’ve been told we will install a pump at the Afsluitdijk that can pump out the equivalent of 10 olympic-size swimming pools per minute. Nice, no?