One Sunday I had a cycling trip around Wageningen. After one year staying here, I already knew my way around but I still decided to join the trip. It was a smart decision, actually. The weather was beautiful and I made some new friends. However, the most interesting part of the trip was when we visited the foot of the Wageningse Berg, where I learned about the way the Dutch take care of toads.
I had already been there several times, so I didn’t pay attention to the tour guide’s introduction until he pointed at the barrier near the road and asked us why it was installed there. It was a green metal barrier approximately 30 centimetres high and it is located between the road and the hill. We all gave it a try but no one could give the correct answer. The guide explained that the barrier was designed to protect toads. During the winter toads reside in the bushes on the hill. However, when the spring comes they jump out of their shelters, cross the road and go to the river beyond. In the process, they may be run over by cars. So Dutch people constructed tunnels under the road and they use the barrier to prevent the toads from jumping straight onto the road. After meeting the barricade, the toads will search for another way to get to the river, find the tunnels and survive.
That day I realized that Dutch people not only are very precise but also take good care of their natural environment. Even tiny creatures like toads are well protected. This is a wonderful effort by the Dutch and it may be why they have a fantastic environment today.
Hieu Nguyen Ba, MSc student of Animal Sciences, from Vietnam
Do you have a nice anecdote about your experience of going Dutch? Send it in! Describe an encounter with Dutch culture in detail and comment on it briefly. 300 words max. Send it to email@example.com and earn twenty-five euro and Dutch candy.
Hieu Nguyen Ba uit Vietnam had geen idee waar het lage hekje voor dient dat onderaan de Wageningse Berg staat. Tot zijn verwondering bleek het bedoeld om padden tegen te houden als die in het voorjaar van hun overwinteringsplaats op de heuvel naar de rivier trekken. Het hekje voorkomt dat ze op de weg worden platgereden. In plaats daarvan kunnen ze via veilige paddentunnels de uiterwaarden bereiken. ‘Zelfs kleine wezens als padden worden hier beschermd.’