Declaration of Arnhem

8 October 1999

We the undersigned note that:

  1. Green monuments (historic monumental compositions of greenery) from an integral part of Dutch cultural history and the Netherlands can pride itself on a unique tradition of man-made landscapes in which green monuments are preeminently the outcome of the interpenetration of nature and culture.
  2. Green monuments designed and constructed in the past, in the form of urban gardens and parks, graveyards, country houses with gardens and rural estates, are of exceptional importance and make a vital contribution to preserving the identity and diversity of the town and countryside of the Netherlands.

    In this respect, the preservation, management and revitalization of green monuments is an essential activity.

  3. The recent Nota Belvedere (memorandum on the preservation of historical landscape features) constituted an initiative towards the development of a policy for green monuments as an integral component of Dutch cultural policy in general.

    The extensive public interest in all aspects of green monuments justifies a further amplification of the relevant government policy.

  4. Green monuments call for an integral, interdisciplinary, coherent approach to be taken by owners, stewards, governing boards, garden and landscape designers, historians, urban planners, architects, ecologists, botanists and trained gardeners.
  5. Practical knowledge, particularly of greenery planning, design and planting in relation to one another, is of vital importance.

    Specialist knowledge is available in the Netherlands but insufficient links have been established between knowledge, theory and practice, owing to a lack of training, education and research in relation to monumental and historic green sites.

  6. Regular and expertly conducted maintenance work directed at the conservation of green monuments is of paramount importance, for which an ongoing budget is necessary.

    Inexpert maintenance can diminish the distinctness of cultural-historical values and structures, leading ultimately to their impoverishment and/or disappearance and a loss of diversity.

  7. An important duty exists to revitalize this heritage.

    The relevance of the question of what approach should be used to do this (preservation in the form of conservation, restoration or modification) has hitherto been seriously underestimated.

  8. We the undersigned are of the opinion that:

  9. Cuts in maintenance budgets for municipal green monuments have been so rigorous in past decades that serious neglect of these monuments has taken place and continues to occur.

    Inexpert alterations to the composition and planting of municipal green monuments have exacerbated the process of degeneration.

  10. The management and maintenance of green monuments should be a component of a design task and structural greenery policy for the urban or rural area concerned, in which the requirements of history, continuity and new functions are always carefully weighed up against one another.
  11. The care of green monuments is a problem which is not limited by national boundaries and which has European and global dimensions.

International exchanges of knowledge, experience and expertise are necessary from a practical level to a theoretical one. The proposals stated in The Florence Charter of 1981 are a step in this direction, but they urgently require implementation at an international level.


We the undersigned, inspired by the International Sonsbeek Symposium (October 7-9, 1999) held to celebrate the 100th  anniversary of Sonsbeek Park Arnhem,


Arnhem, 8 October 1999

The undersigned:


Bibliotheek Wageningen UR / Special Collections / Wageningen UR Library

Bomenstichting / Dutch Tree Foundation

Cascade / Dutch Garden History Society

Donderberggroep, Stichting voor Follies, Tuinsieraden en Vermaaksarchitectuur / Foundation for Follies, Garden Decorations and Casual Architecture

De Terebinth / Association for care of graveyards

Nederlandse Tuinenstichting / Garden Association of the Netherlands; preservation of private country houses and gardens

Stichting tot Behoud van Particuliere Historische Buitenplaatsen / Castellum Nostrum Foundation; preservation of private country houses and gardens

Stadswerk-GNL / Platform for managers of municipal green monuments

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Afdeling voor de Geschiedenis van Architectuur, Stedenbouw en Tuin- en Landschapsarchitectuur / Free University Amsterdam, Department for the history of Architecture, Urbanism, Garden Design and Landscape Architecture

support the Declaration of Arnhem.

Send a mail to the Service Desk Wageningen Desktop Library, 17 July , 2003