Entanglements: Dr. Kristian Mennen, “How to oppose the reclamation of ‘waste land’? Political strategies of the Dutch nature conservation movement in the 1930s”

Date 19th May, 2022
Time15:00hrs CEST, via Zoom
Venue Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (NU-3A57)/ Online via Zoom

Please register for this lecture on our website to receive specific directions to the location or a Zoom link

We at the EHC are very excited to announce our next lecture in the Entanglements series with Dr. Kristian Mennen addressing the political aspects of the early Dutch conservation movement.

Abstract: Reclamation of wasteland became a prominent issue for the conservationist movement around the association Natuurmonumenten (‘Natural Monuments’) in the 1930s. Infrastructural and reclamation works on an unprecedented scale, made possible by state subsidies on salaries for the unemployed, threatened to destroy the remaining surface of ‘waste land’ within a generation. Once the leading Dutch conservationists became convinced that the formerly despised ‘waste lands’ included natural habitats of unique scientific value, they had to find a proper strategy to mitigate the ongoing reclamation works. Purchasing all the areas was not a feasible solution. Political or public support was not available in a time of economic crisis and mass unemployment, and conservationist efforts to exert influence at the political level caused its first head-on confrontation with agricultural interest groups. Therefore, the nature conservation movement sought a procedure via informal back channels, contacts in the civil service, offering expert scientific advice, and getting a chance to intervene in the compromises over specific wasteland areas.

About Kristian Mennen: Dr Mennen worked as a postdoc researcher at Radboud University in Nijmegen. He is an environmental historian with a broad interest in European political history of the 20th century and its nexus with nature conservation and environmental questions. His recent work includes a number of articles about political aspects in the history of nature conservation in the Netherlands; more publications and a monograph are in preparation or in review.

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