The creation of the Bird Forest

Not so long ago, Aleid Röntgen, who is helping to shape our kitchen garden, asked if she could plant a few bird-friendly bushes next to the garden, on the other side of the ditch. Included in her vision were beautiful flowering bushes and plenty of vantage points for insectivores to pick off the species that posed a threat to our beloved vegetable garden.

Photo (R.Spoelstra): The bushes being planted by diligent arborists in an ecologically responsible way.

Søren Movig, Wester-Amstel’s steward, responded positively to Aleid’s request and immediately went all out. A contingent of diligent arborists cleared the entire strip in front of the wooded bank, up to the South Lane, of unwanted foliage. For now, even the blackberry bushes are a thing of the past. A few large trees were also cut down, either because they were getting too old or simply because they stood in the way of “The Light”.

After this patch was done, they still had fifty metres to go.

The Green Fund of the Province of North Holland gave us the go-ahead to purchase our shrubs. We used the €1,000 provided to us on ecologically sound and volunteer-promoting shrub families. And as proof that the garden group covered all their bases, here is their final shopping list:


Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa 'Viking'), Common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), Paul's Scarlet Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna ‘Pauls Scarlet’), American Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum), Guelder rose (Viburnum opulus), European crab apple (Malus sylvestris), and last but not least: the Black Elder (Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’).

The sturdy 'Röntgen’ spans the void between the garden and the wilderness frontier

Visual (R.Vrielink): The dreamlike plans of the bridge in its early stages.

Of course, accessibility to the new area had to be improved, so Bill Admiraal and Ruud Vrielink, who are in charge of infrastructure at Wester-Amstel, were asked to build a simple yet sturdy bridge. Fortunately, we never throw anything away at Wester-Amstel, so there was plenty of material for the bridge. Since its completion, the structure has come to be known as The Röntgen, after Aleid, who likely commutes across it from sunrise to sunset - that is, if she hasn't inadvertently spent the night in the Bird Woods.

Photos (R.Vrielink): Leveling, cutting the hardest wood in two, and keeping everything square.

Photo (R.Vrielink): Neatly in the east/west line of sight
Photo (S.Movig): A bridge made to last.

By: Ruud Vrielink