Groene Bedstee, Oosterbeek, Netherlands by Joke de Jager

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'De Groene Bedstee' is a beautiful berceau of real beech (not hornbeam) that was laid out on this park in 1856 in English landscape style. The beech avenues that were built between meadows between 1820 and 1840 date from a little earlier. A berceau or foliage corridor is a path with hedges on both sides, which are connected at the top, creating a kind of tunnel.

Berceaus date from the time when it was fashion for well-to-do ladies to look as white as possible to distinguish themselves from working people who, because they spent a lot of time in the open air, had a tanned skin color. In such a mountain one could walk outside and still stay out of the sun. But even in the autumn, without leaves, as in this photo, the shade was guaranteed, because the trees are planted so close together.

This beautiful "berceau" is located on the Mariendaal Estate, a historic country estate located between Oosterbeek and Arnhem. It largely belongs to the municipality of Arnhem; the western part (with the main building) is located in the municipality of Renkum. Mariëndaal is part of the Mariënborn estate group, which is owned by the foundation Het Gelders Landschap & Kasteelen (GLK).

The Klingelbeek or Slijpbeek runs through the area. The valley of this stream was cut from the Arnhem lateral moraine by erosion. In the higher part of this valley, Wijnand van Arnhem made land available on which in 1392 the Augustinian monastery Domus Fontis Beatae Mariae was founded. In Dutch this monastery was first called Mariënborn and later Mariëndaal. This monastery belonged to the movement of the Modern Devotion, a movement that strived to return to Early Christianity.

In 1580, during the Reformation, this monastery was closed down and demolished between 1587 and 1607. The stones have been reused to harden the avenues in the estate and in various buildings in Arnhem.

During the ice ages, long, narrow erosion valleys formed in this area. These are visible to this day.


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