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Hoveniers van Oranje

Functie, werk en positie 1621-1732
PhD ceremony:Ms H. (Lenneke) Berkhout
When:August 27, 2020
Supervisors:prof. dr. Y.B. (Yme) Kuiper, prof. dr. E.A. Jong, de
Where:Academy building RUG
Hoveniers van Oranje

Gardeners to the House of Orange. Function, work and position 1621-1732Research into Dutch garden history is usually written from an art historical point of view. However, gardens are more than just a beautiful design. Gardens are also about people, about (international) networks that shared knowledge and garden material, about hard work and innovations. Research into the gardeners to the princes and princesses of Orange in early modern times highlights these often unknown aspects of Dutch garden history. It paints a lively picture of the daily routine in and around the gardens.

In the early modern period the gardens of the House of Orange were leading. Who were the men and women who maintained these gardens? What did their work involve? Based on new archival records this research introduces some fifty gardeners as well as other garden staff such as the fountainiers-grottiers. Instructions and contracts provide an overview of their daily work, from the cultivation of fruit and vegetables, the construction of parterres, the care of exotic plants to the use of hot beds. The qualities the gardeners had to have, the selection process and appointment procedure and the position of head gardeners are discussed. Moreover the professionalization of the profession of head gardener and the introduction of new horticultural techniques and tools are addressed. In addition, the reader gets a glimpse of the relationship between the princes(ses) of Orange and their often highly valued head gardeners and the role gardeners played in the (international) exchange of horticultural knowledge.