De Nieuwe Plantagie | Assen

DEAR MISTER HOFSTEDE,

Since you are the founder of my backyard, the Asserbosch, I decided to give you a wakeup call concerning the current condition of your forest. I have the intension to write you from time to time, just to tell about my perception of your rational mapping activities in the period of 1764-1784. Back then, you planned, sketched, designed, organized, planted and nourished the Asserbosch, as it was the Nieuwe Plantagie.

Normally, I run through the forest always taking the same route. It is pretty easy to run without thoughts, not concerning about decisions of directions. You designed the Nieuwe Plantagie according the latest French trends and as a result the pattern exists of heaps of straight lines formatted into many axis, pointing at important features. After 236 years, much more paths were made. Still, the forest is named the Sterrebosch because of your rational layout. Given the number of paths, you probably understand the importance of running carefree quite well!

I realize now, that you are probably not familiar with the phenomenon of running through a forest. It is an activity to move freely outside, for the benefit of mental and physical health.

You are probably wondering why I am writing you right now. Well, I have decided to change my customs. Although I live in Assen for a few years now, my artistic mapping practice has been focussed on other landscapes besides my own backyard. I love to explore and map unknown rural landscapes and even prefer the rural, outside the Dutch borders. Now, tied to the local, because of international travel restrictions, I have the intension to research the possibilities of new perceptions on my environment.

Since you are such an important founder of my rural area I want to share my newly gathered perceptions with you. Due to the unbridgeable gap between us, an answer is not expected although I will research your immortal legacy. Through this an imaginary contact will be established.

Yours sincerely,

Cora Jongsma, Landscape Researcher with Soft Mapping Practice

“Plattegrond van de stad Assen met deszelfs omgelegene tuinen, landen en bosschen”, door Cartograaf P.A.C. BUWAMA AARDENBURG; 1809, DrentsArchief, 1552

Map visualizing the north side of the Asserbosch in 1809. Rational French layout with main axis and circular form directed to the church tower of Assen on the east side (not visible). Forestry, de Nieuwe Plantagie, with the aim to make the soil of Assen more economically profitable.

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