Portrait of a River

"We should also allow nature to paint and create for herself, because she knows how to bring things back in balance again, in harmony." - Lianne Van Genugten, Farmer, Entrepreneur, and Founder of Vaderland


Dommel: History's Sustainable Echoes

In the heart of the Netherlands lies a river that has witnessed centuries of change – the Dommel. Yet, despite the passage of time, its waters still hold the echoes of history and the promise of a sustainable future.

For generations, the Dutch have relied on the Dommel for trade and agriculture, shaping its course to suit their needs. However, as climate change looms large, the consequences of this manipulation have come to haunt the region. Devastating floods and severe droughts threaten the very fabric of life along the river, urging residents to seek solutions for a sustainable tomorrow and to restore nature’s balance.

The Dommel

Despite its relatively small size, spanning 75 miles (120 kilometers) with the majority flowing through the Netherlands, the Dommel boasts features reminiscent of larger rivers, like its expansive valley shaped by the Last Glacial Period. Legends of Roman navigation and its pivotal role in powering Eindhoven's industrial past add depth to its storied history. Today, the Dommel remains a captivating destination, offering visitors opportunities for exploration along its banks, cycling trails, and serene canoe rides, encouraging all to immerse themselves in its rich heritage.

Dommel's Advocacy: Inspired Unity


Amidst this challenge, voices rise for the Dommel. Frank Van Den Eijnden, Operational Manager of Van Gogh National Park, draws inspiration from the renowned artist Vincent van Gogh, who found solace and inspiration along the river. Together with a coalition of partners, he embarks on a mission to help ensure nature's recovery. 


Lianne Van Genugten, a farmer and designer, emerges as a beacon of hope for the region. Determined to revive her family's farm, Vaderland, she works to transform barren fields into thriving ecosystems, nurturing biodiversity and reclaiming the land's natural harmony.


As the journey unfolds, Erik de Ridder, Chairman of the Waterschap De Dommel, underscores the importance of innovation in safeguarding the river's future. From re-meandering its course to tackling pollution and reducing nitrogen emissions, he and his team embrace bold solutions to address the challenges at hand. 

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Reviving the Dommel Together

Yet, amidst the struggle, there is hope. Through collaborative efforts and a shared commitment to nature's preservation, the Dommel begins to reclaim its rightful place as a sanctuary for life. Wetlands are restored, agricultural practices are reimagined, and communities find solace in the river's gentle embrace.

As we navigate the twists and turns of the Dommel's story, one thing becomes clear – the power of collective action to shape a brighter future. From the bustling city of Eindhoven to the tranquil countryside, the Dommel unites residents in a shared purpose: to ensure that nature's symphony continues to echo through the ages.

In the words of Vincent van Gogh, "I see in nature and in art, and in the human soul, the possibility of a different and better world." Today, along the banks of the Dommel, that possibility is being realized.

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