In a weekly column, alternately written by Lucien Engelen, Mary Fiers, Maarten Steinbuch, Carlo van de Weijer, and Tessie Hartjes, E52 tries to find out what the future will look like. All five contributors – sometimes accompanied by guest bloggers – are working on solving the problems of our time. Everything to make Tomorrow Good. This Sunday, it‘s Mary Fiers’ turn. Here are all the previously published columns.

You can’t possibly have missed it during the last few weeks: lots of news about the Oostvaardersplassen: a nature reserve of almost 60 km² between Almere and Lelystad. The area was created after the reclamation of the Flevopolders (1950-1968) and is therefore relatively young.

No pictures of the beautiful nature, this time. But raw news about life, survival, and death. Also part of nature, of course. And about activists. Action leaders who are concerned about animals that die of lack of food. For the activists, letters-to-the-editor, and banners with their slogans were not enough. They also took actual action: feeding the animals. This is contrary to expert advice because, according to these experts, supplementary feed upsets the natural balance. After all, nature is based on a natural selection. The strongest animals survive.

Some activists even went as far as threatening foresters. What? Yes, really, foresters were under attack! In order to put an end to the threats, it was decided that additional feeding was allowed. The script would not be out of place for a film. But who is the hero here? Or do we only have losers?

I do not know what happened to you, but I have followed all the reports with amazement and interest.

There is a lot to say about nature in the Netherlands. Almost all nature in the Netherlands is the result of human intervention. In fact, we don’t have any real nature among us. With the exception of the Wadden Sea perhaps? This certainly applies to the Oostvaardersplassen. In the planning works for this nature reserve, at some point an important nature link was cut back. As a result, the animals have too small a habitat. But this also goes for the rest of the Netherlands: we are a small country, where many functions are combined. Living, working, recreation, food production and nature. It all has a place in our small country. This has consequences for the functioning of nature in the Netherlands. We do not have huge areas where nature “can do its own thing” without the interference of mankind. Out of the eye of man. Man is always close to it.

Also in our region. You can walk and cycle from the city right into nature. Via De Karpen, the Philips De Jonghpark or the Genneper parks. More and more people are doing that. And that is to be welcomed! After all, man is part of nature. So please let’s not put a fence around nature to keep people out.

Slowly but surely, people take ‘possession’ of nature. We consider it to be an extension of our backyard. This leads to requests to ‘clean up’ nature. For example, to clear fallen trees. While leaving trees lying down is incredibly good for all sorts of plants and animals and not to mention the soil. This process is, of course, very gradual, but the heated discussions about the Oostvaardersplassen raise the question of whether we, as Western human beings, are at all capable of letting nature really become nature. Or do we want to control everything? Are we only able to look at nature with people’s eyes? Are we going to see all the animals and treat them like our pets?

If we don’t pay attention, we are on our way to a ‘pettification’ of Dutch nature.

And now it’s time to feed my two dear domestic cats Frits and Peerke, as well as the birds outside. Nothing human is strange to me.

Picture: boswachter.nl

In a weekly column, alternately written by Lucien Engelen, Mary Fiers, Maarten Steinbuch, Carlo van de Weijer, and Tessie Hartjes, E52 tries to find out what the future will look like. All five contributors – sometimes accompanied by guest bloggers – are working on solving the problems of our time. Everything to make Tomorrow Good. This Sunday, it‘s Mary Fiers’ turn. Here are all the previously published columns.

You can’t possibly have missed it during the last few weeks: lots of news about the Oostvaardersplassen: a nature reserve of almost 60 km² between Almere and Lelystad. The area was created after the reclamation of the Flevopolders (1950-1968) and is therefore relatively young.

No pictures of the beautiful nature, this time. But raw news about life, survival, and death. Also part of nature, of course. And about activists. Action leaders who are concerned about animals that die of lack of food. For the activists, letters-to-the-editor, and banners with their slogans were not enough. They also took actual action: feeding the animals. This is contrary to expert advice because, according to these experts, supplementary feed upsets the natural balance. After all, nature is based on a natural selection. The strongest animals survive.

Some activists even went as far as threatening foresters. What? Yes, really, foresters were under attack! In order to put an end to the threats, it was decided that additional feeding was allowed. The script would not be out of place for a film. But who is the hero here? Or do we only have losers?

I do not know what happened to you, but I have followed all the reports with amazement and interest.

There is a lot to say about nature in the Netherlands. Almost all nature in the Netherlands is the result of human intervention. In fact, we don’t have any real nature among us. With the exception of the Wadden Sea perhaps? This certainly applies to the Oostvaardersplassen. In the planning works for this nature reserve, at some point an important nature link was cut back. As a result, the animals have too small a habitat. But this also goes for the rest of the Netherlands: we are a small country, where many functions are combined. Living, working, recreation, food production and nature. It all has a place in our small country. This has consequences for the functioning of nature in the Netherlands. We do not have huge areas where nature “can do its own thing” without the interference of mankind. Out of the eye of man. Man is always close to it.

Also in our region. You can walk and cycle from the city right into nature. Via De Karpen, the Philips De Jonghpark or the Genneper parks. More and more people are doing that. And that is to be welcomed! After all, man is part of nature. So please let’s not put a fence around nature to keep people out.

Slowly but surely, people take ‘possession’ of nature. We consider it to be an extension of our backyard. This leads to requests to ‘clean up’ nature. For example, to clear fallen trees. While leaving trees lying down is incredibly good for all sorts of plants and animals and not to mention the soil. This process is, of course, very gradual, but the heated discussions about the Oostvaardersplassen raise the question of whether we, as Western human beings, are at all capable of letting nature really become nature. Or do we want to control everything? Are we only able to look at nature with people’s eyes? Are we going to see all the animals and treat them like our pets?

If we don’t pay attention, we are on our way to a ‘pettification’ of Dutch nature.

And now it’s time to feed my two dear domestic cats Frits and Peerke, as well as the birds outside. Nothing human is strange to me.

Picture: boswachter.nl

Become a member!

On Innovation Origins you can read the latest news about the world of innovation every day. We want to keep it that way, but we can't do it alone! Are you enjoying our articles and would you like to support independent journalism? Become a member and read our stories guaranteed ad-free.

About the author

Author profile picture