Monumental historical greenery is an important part of the Dutch cultural landscape. It includes the parks and gardens of castles, country estates and monasteries. The extraordinary quality of these sites is safeguarded by the head gardener.
The profession of head gardener dates back centuries. In former times the head gardener managed a large gardening crew. These days much work is contracted to outside parties as a full crew has become too expensive. At many sites, the head gardener works with volunteers. The head gardener is a professional who aims to achieve the highest level of perfection. He safeguards the historical design of a park or garden and ensures its continuous management. The head gardener is responsible for daily management and liaises with the owner, staff, volunteers and the public.
The owner may be a private person, as half of the 500+ protected historical estates remain in private hands. The other half can be the property of a governmental organization such as Staatsbosbeheer (state forestry), provincial Landschap (landscape management), a non-profit organization such as Natuurmonumenten or a private foundation.
The maintenance of historical gardens and parks is a craft which combines a love for and knowledge of the world of green. It is part of our horticulture.