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Boskoop (About this sound pronunciation ) is a town and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The municipality had a population of 15,217 in 2008, and covers an area of 16.96 km² (6.55 mile²) of which 2.17 km² (0.84 mile²) is water. It's the world's biggest joined floriculture area.

Boskoop is famous for its nurseries, particularly woody plant and perennial nurseries, of which some 774 are situated on long stretches of land, divided by narrow canals. Before World War II almost all transport was conducted using narrow boats. A few exceptionally high footbridges crossing some of the broader (main) canals remain from these days. Between the World Wars the transition was made from fruit culture to decorative garden plants and trees. As a source of technical knowledge about the art of growing decorative plants, Boskoop remains world renowned and unique.

The name "Boskoop" has been given to an apple cultivar (Belle de Boskoop) which is widely distributed in the Low Countries, and to a grape variety (Boskoop Glory).



Boskoop is located in the Green Heart (nl: Groene Hart) of the Randstad, spanning both sides of the river Gouwe between Alphen aan den Rijn (to the north) and Waddinxveen (to the south), both also along the river. The municipality is bordered in the east by Reeuwijk and Bodegraven, and in the west by Rijnwoude. A vertical lift bridge in the centre of the village connects both shores of the Gouwe.


It is assumed that Boskoop originated from the settlement Ten Bussche, founded by William I, Count of Holland, in 1204. In 1222, the Abbey of Rijnsburg became owner of Boskoop. The Abbey decided to enlarge its tree and shrub inventory by making the farmers grow more trees than they would need for their own orchards. From the 15th to the 17th century more and more trees were produced and decorative plants were introduced. At the end of the 19th century, Boskoop began with the export of its products, Germany being its first client.

The history of Boskoop was greatly influenced by its location on top of a thick peat layer. When the Abbey of Rijnsburg became owners of Boskoop, the harvesting of peat for fuel began. But unlike other towns in the "Green Heart" where extensive peat harvesting led to the formation of large ponds and lakes, Boskoop was too far from the major cities and peat harvesting was not profitable. Also the abbey did not permit the excavation of the peat layer on its lands. So Boskoop still has fertile soil for agriculture and horticulture.

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