Tiny Forests Bloom in Utrecht

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Utrecht will build four so-called ‘Tiny Forests’ within the next three years.

A Tiny Forest is a dense, indigenous forest about the size of a tennis court. The group prefers to grow the mini-forests in neighbourhoods where there is little green space.

Today, Alderman Lot van Hooijdonk signed the cooperation agreement with Petra Schut, regional director of IVN Natuureducatie, between Utrecht as partner municipality and Tiny Forest.

A Tiny Forest is a nice place for people and animals such as butterflies, birds and smaller mammals. Children can learn about nature in the forest and local residents meet in a pleasant and healthy place. Residents and schools can take the initiative for a Tiny Forest in their neighborhood.

IVN wants to build 100 mini-forests in partnership with 24 Dutch cities by 2021.

In August, Utrecht was chosen from 55 applicants as one of the partner municipalities. The aim is to plant the first forest this spring.

Utrecht already has two Tiny Forests, at the Muziekplein in Terwijde (2018) and the Cremertuin in Lombok (2017).

Tiny forests in Utrecht

Children learn about Dutch nature in the outdoor room that is the Tiny forest and local residents meet in a pleasant and healthy place.

The forests stimulate biodiversity and offer opportunities to combat climate problems. And more nature in the neighborhood ensures a healthier living environment and a haven for city dwellers. This is how nature in cities is getting closer. Tiny Forest is made possible thanks to a contribution from the Dutch Postcode Lottery.

Tiny Forest Cremertuin

On April 6, 2017, the first Tiny Forest of the Province of Utrecht was planted at Schimmelplein. This was the third one planted in the Netherlands!

Every Tiny Forest is different. The shape of the forest, and the outside space around it, depends on the location and wishes of the neighborhood and municipality. In the Cremertuin the Tiny Forest is tunnelled with a sewer pipe and there is a large inner circle, the outside classroom. Below you see the basic design.

Tiny Forest Terwijde

In the middle of the parking lot of the Terwijde district of Utrecht, the now tenth Tiny Forest of the Netherlands has been in place since April 2018. The tiles of the parking lot now form the shape of an amphitheater. The pupils of De Ridderhof, which is around the corner, will be taught outside and will help to take care of the management of the site. Initiator IVN, together with pupils and volunteers, planted the 600 native trees.

The Tiny Forest is part of the design of the Muziekplein in Terwijde. Alderman Geldof of the municipality of Utrecht told reporters that this forest fits perfectly with the Muziekplein and with initiatives from the neighborhood. The forest is really a supplement for Terwijde. And that our children can learn about nature here is an important added value.

Tiny Forest Terwijde was made possible by Albert Heijn, the municipality of Utrecht, primary school De Ridderhof and ASR real estate. Terwijde shopping centre and 199 homes around the Tiny Forest. Muziekplein are owned by the ASR real estate retail and housing fund. Robbert van Dijk, fund director of ASR Dutch Core Residential Fund says that in addition to their investments in real estate, they also find it important to invest in the quality of life in the neighbourhoods in which their property is located. The Tiny Forest not only creates green space in the neighbourhood, but is also a meeting place for local residents and the outdoor classroom for the children participating in the educational program.

IVN Utrecht works as a professional organization and with 1,300 involved, IVN volunteers to make a greener society. They encourage young and old to experience nature: in the backyard and in nature reserves such as the National Park Utrechtse Heuvelrug. IVN do this in collaboration with a huge network of professionals: terrain managers, recreation sector, education, childcare, health institutions, governments and other partners.

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Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins is Welsh and lives in England. He is a writer. A Europhile and Remainer, he is a regular visitor to Utrecht and has set his crime novel series in the city.

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