This week-end the Zeeheldentuin – a organic community garden in The Hague was officially opened with a festive act. From today on it is open every day for neighbors and interested visitors.
The opening was started with the novel sport discipline ‘allotment garden race’ to distribute around ninety gardens to their new owners. Around noon the the official opening took place by connecting a hand pump in the vegetable gardens with founders, board and a member of the city council.
Since Friday in the early morning volunteers where busy fixing the last jobs on the garden. The Zeeheldentuin used the special occasion to finish the last works with lot’s of volunteers including two members of the Dutch Government for the official nation wide start of the 11. national volunteer days “NL Doet”. Minister Blok and secretary of state van Rijn supported a class from Seggebroek-College and a group of city officials. All this was broadcasted live on national radio 2 by the popular early-bird reporter Wendy.
Panorama of the ZeeheldentuinThe Zeeheldentuin is a green oasis in the Zeehelden neighborhood in central The Hague. It is designed for people of all ages to meet, relax and enjoy. Besides about ninety vegetable gardens there is an fruit orchard, a perennial flower garden with lounge and a wilderness playground for the younger visitors.
The main goal of the garden was to bring more greenery into the neighborhood. Besides the Zeeheldentuin also wants contribute to people, nature and society. They collaborate with nearby daycare facilities for kids, adults and elderly in education, maintenance and even food production. For the design ecological cycles played an importuned role. One example is the use of water. It is supplied from groundwater, guided along a designed river through for play and kept in the ground with a infiltration system. No drinking water is used for irrigation – making the garden independent form water tolls.
All collaborators of the Zeeheldentuin are volunteers. Many professionals and creatives among around 60 volunteers could reach a lot in relatively short time. Still a lot of support will be needed to pay-off a loan that had to be taken for the land. Funding has been provided by among others Fonds 1818, Foundation ‘De Versterking’, Rabobank, Jantje Beton, DGJ Architects & Landscapes, City of The Hague and GroeneHelden.
Text Lotte Nijkamp Stichting Zeeheldentuin translated from Dutch by the author