Botanic gardens and tropical greenhouses in the Netherlands are forbidden to make transactions with Wageningen UR. This is disclosed by the spokesman for the Dutch Botanic Garden Collections Foundation (SNP) Bert van den Wollenberg. The reason for this ban is that Wageningen UR has stopped managing its own collections.
Simon Vink, spokesman for the Executive Board of Wageningen UR feels that SNP's line of action is 'bizarre'. 'It's making a mountain out of a molehill', he says. According to Vink, Unifarm asked for a few simple crops to grow and study in its own greenhouses. 'These can be bought elsewhere, in any case. The conduct of the SNP has nothing to do with research and education. I don't know what they want to achieve with this decision. If this is how it should be, so be it. But we haven't been informed officially.'
Of no value
As far as SNP is concerned, Wageningen UR does not have a botanic garden any more. Van den Wollenberg: 'It has ceased to manage its collection. The plants and trees are still there, but the collection is of no value without expertise and information. It becomes mere property. It's a nice park, but not a collection.' Vink disagrees. 'We have a botanic collection and we are keeping that. In addition, we also have the Genetic Resources Collection. This is more important for bio-diversity than the gardens. They are making much ado about nothing.' According to Vink, Wageningen UR is negotiating with SNP.
Van den Wollenberg: 'You can't claim to have a heart for managing your collection if you abandon even the tropical greenhouse. They are now trying to acquire plant materials via a back door. This is a very unpleasant situation for Wageningen to be in. Wageningen UR has shot itself in the foot.'