The Netherlands have a unique relationship with water, says blogger Kaavya Raveendran. From rivers like the Rhine to the extensive canals throughout the cities. The campus itself is also a special ‘waterscape’ with its own story to tell.
© Sven Menschel
The wetlands are beautiful, ideal for relaxation, and have a high aesthetical and cultural-historical value. I had an incredible experience recently when I visited the Texel beach. That is when I realised that there is something about the Dutch waters that makes it really special, and how it perfectly defines the term ‘waterscape’.
I don’t describe waterscape as just an aquatic landscape; it is more than a mere scenic entity. Each waterscape has a distinct story to tell. When is the last time you sat beside a lake and silently gazed into the waters? Shouldn’t be long ago, as summer in Wageningen drives students outdoors more than any other season. Wageningen is blessed with the Rhine, but you can experience the magic of water on campus as well. What is the story behind this waterscape that you see every day?
The campus waterscape
The WUR campus is situated in a low land between two natural higher areas, the Veluwe and the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. Because of this level difference, water seeps into the campus-soils from the neighbouring highlands. This causes the area to have a high groundwater table. To prevent flooding, open water areas in the form of ponds have been designed to hold some of the groundwater. The ponds have gently sloping banks to create a suitable habitat for amphibians. With this strategy, the campus now functions as a wetland area. The nature-friendly banks are specially maintained to enable the students and staff to sit and enjoy the view of the pond.
Fascinating isn’t it, how we can find ways to beautifully mould natural processes in our favour while at the same time preserving its essence. But like I said, there is more than just science that the waters are built of. Like the famous poet John Keats said: ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever’. The waterscape of the WUR campus brings out a smile on each person’s face who visits the campus. It is wonderful how the students have integrated this living ecosystem into their lives. During the summer, the banks of the ponds are a popular spot to enjoy lunch, in the winter they are a place to improve your ice skating skills. So next time you cross the pond, take a minute to enjoy this beautiful waterscape.
Kaavya is a MSc student of Food Technology and a new blogger for resource online.