2005 | 3 | 101-110
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The Dutch settlement movement in Poland in unused floodlands located along the Vistula, the Bug, the Wkra and other rivers, originated in the Commonwealth during the sixteenth century. The influx of the colonists who came from Flanders and Friesland, was caused, on the one hand, by the religious repressions suffered by the Mennonites in The Netherlands and, on the other hand, by practical reasons: the newcomers represented a high economic level and thus were regarded as highly desirable settlers. They were always offered land either along river banks or marshes and wastelands. Thanks to centuries-long experiences in combating water, won in their homeland, they were capable of developing terrains which at first glance appeared to be totally useless, by establishing a whole system of ditches, dams. and dikes. The farms of the first settlers, with a dominant part played by animal husbandry and orchards, were characterised by much larger productivity, the application of modern solutions, and a better organisation of labour than those of the corvée peasants. The economic basis consisted of a cash rent payable to the landowners in return for leasing and cultivating the land. Due to the different system of management, considerable independence, self-governance, and predominantly, prosperity, the settlers could afford to erect impressive buildings, decorated with lavish window and door joinery, and admired up to this very day for their beauty and professional execution. Both individual Dutch buildings and entire villages are succumbing to gradual transformation and destruction. Settlements colonised according to Dutch law have, in contrast to the surrounding villages, preserved their traditional and historical character; furthermore, they include a multitude of historical buildings representing various architectural styles. Unfortunately, we possess only fragmentary information about the total resources as well as the size of the settlement network. This lack of data has led to the absence of suitable protection for the remnants of Dutch settlements in Poland which, after all, are of value not only for Polish culture, but also for Dutch and German tradition; unfortunately, all three remain ignored and threatened with devastation and, worse, oblivion. This is the reason why the Association of Conservators of Historical Monuments has proposed an Internet catalogue of Dutch settlement monuments in Poland, available at: The program in question assumes a material documentation of the cultural heritage associated with the Dutch settlements, i.e .villages, farmsteads, residential and farm buildings, as well as churches and cemeteries; other tasks entail a popularisation of the part played by the settlers in our history in the form of a Polish-English Internet portal. We sincerely hope that the idea of creating the such a portal will interest numerous active participants in its expansion and functioning. The description and propagation of knowledge about historical monuments connected with Dutch colonisation is the only solutions enabling their actual protection and preservation for future generations. We cannot permit yet another element of traditional rural culture to be doomed to oblivion, especially considering that it is so closely connected with three worthy traditions.
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  • mgr, etnograf, konserwator zabytków, absolwent Katedry Etnografii Instytutu Historycznego Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego (1987). Rzeczoznawca Stowarzyszenia Konserwatorów Zabytków w dziedzinie ochrony zabytków nieruchomych i oceny ochrony dóbr kultury. Stypendysta Ministra Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego (1999, 2005). Dwukrotnie nagrodzony Złotą Odznaką za Opiekę nad Zabytkami. Autor ponad stu prac z dziedziny etnografii i ochrony zabytków. Propagator ochrony drewnianej architektury w Polsce, zwłaszcza sakralnej, małomiasteczkowej i ludowej. Główny specjalista do spraw ewidencji obiektów zabytkowych w Ośrodku Ochrony Zbiorów Publicznych w Warszawie.
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