Where the lower reaches of the rivers Rijn, Maas and Schelde have passed through the Northwest-European plain to finally flow out into the North Sea, a unique country of towns had come about during the Late Middle Ages. Since then, due to its natural and central location, this country, the Netherlands, has turned into a true crossroads of European trade connections between east and west, north and south. A highly urbanised country emerged and as the urban economies prospered they have had a great impact on the surrounding countryside. This in turn has affected the rural communities and has stimulated all kinds of agrarian activities. Highly productive agribusiness complexes have been the result. Today experts rank Dutch agriculture and horticulture as one of the most productive in the world. Milk production per cow and arable farming and horticulture, productivity per man-hour is amongst the highest known. This book is meant to give an overview of the historical processes of five centuries of farming and it makes clear that the old farming society was only seemingly static. This account of Dutch agricultural history demonstrates how Dutch farmers and horticulturist have always been keen on resetting their aims when the ever changing economic environment induced them to do so.
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