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Rabbits Swimming Across Borders: Micro-Environmental Infrastructures And Macro-Environmental Change In Early Modern Holland

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Chapter Summary

Rabbits were introduced by humans in the thirteenth century for the purpose of meat and fur production, but lived in a semi-wild state. This chapter treats the history of the rabbit fences of the coastal dunes of the Netherlands as a contextual environmental history. At the end of the Middle Ages the coastal dunes of Holland were a relatively new landscape. The chapter concentrates on the large centrepiece of the dune masses that ran from the village of Egmond to The Hague. From the end of the Middle Ages onwards, drastic changes in land use occurred in the dune region, in particular in the more inland Old Dunes. In contrast to the deep peat bogs in the interior, where the intensive mining left swamps and lakes from the early modern period onwards, along the coast relatively high sandy plains remained which could be easily drained.

Keywords: coastal dunes; early modern period; Holland; rabbit fences



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