How popular is the allotment garden?  “From the construction worker to the judge, everyone participates.”

How popular is the allotment garden? “From the construction worker to the judge, everyone participates.”

“We are seeing a growing interest in allotments among all levels of society,” says Herman Vroklage of the umbrella organization of the General Association of Allotment Gardeners in the Netherlands (AVVN). “In recent years we have seen an increase in the number of academics and people working in office jobs who like to get their feet in the mud.”

Retired man

According to Froklage, the image of gardening in a dedicated garden has changed over the years. “When you talked about a gardener, you imagined a retired man, or poor families growing tomatoes and zucchini to eat themselves. It's different now. A gardener can now be anyone.”

“Dedicated gardeners can be a nurse, a construction worker, a judge or a doctor,” he says. Els de Wit from the Gardeners' Association, responsible for 6,000 plots in 29 sites in and around Amsterdam. “The nice thing about this is that you often don't know what kind of work the other person is doing. Because you're all walking around in your old clothes. And in the dedicated garden you're just the dedicated gardener.”

According to De Wit, the allotments are a place where people can relax when they want to escape busy life. It seems that many Amsterdam residents are interested in this. The association faces long waiting lists.

At the gardeners' association Ons Belang in Nieuwegein, they have also seen a significant change in the population of the complex in recent years. Rich young man Families now make up nearly half of the association's membership base, says board member Rob Abels. “This was much lower a few years ago.”

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According to AVVN's Vroklage, the growing popularity is due to the purpose of gardening changing over the years. “People satisfy their need to be in a natural environment by taking an allotment,” he says. “The world around us has become harder and more rigid, with more asphalt, more buildings and less nature. Young families also want to learn about nature and life in the park.”

In this video, Lisa talks about her self-sufficient backyard. She turned it into a vegetable garden where she can eat year-round.

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