Modern Age

Rising fields

The fields were fertilized more extensively. They used material rich in humus from the common grounds. That way, the fields could be reused annually. And more fields meant more cattle. The cattle would graze in the woods, where also forest litter was gathered. In time, the forests changed to vast heathlands.

Artificial manure and barbed wire

The 20th Century meant great changes for the balance between cultivated and wild grounds. With the discovery of artificial manure, the wild grounds lost their main function. Turfing and extensive grazing were no longer necessary.
In this period, cultivation of new fields bloomed. Heathland was destroyed in favour of agriculture. Swampland was drained. The ‘Lossing’ was created as one of the most important drainage-canals. Several farmhouses (e.g. ‘Woutershof, Smeetshof) are silent witnesses of this period of cultivation.
Another large influence on the environment came from barbed wire. Hedges were no longer needed to keep the cattle on the fields and were largely cleared. The ‘Brand’ and ‘Langeren’ in ‘Neeroeteren’ escaped these drastic intervention. Here, you can still find a large amount of hedges, hedgerows, bushes, hay land and meadows.
After World War Two, the landscape changed dramatically. Especially in the Dutch part of the ‘GrensPark’ the agricultural landscape was transformed in an agrarian production landscape with an industrial atmosphere.
‘Kempen~Broek’ evolved into an interesting, versified landscape.