From the treasury
Comparing apples and oranges: the books on gardening and cultivating fruit by Johann Hermann Knoop

The apples for consumption, as known to us now, can be genetically traced back to a variety from Kazakhstan, the Malus sierversii. Via Iran, Turkey, Greece and the Roman Empire this fruit spread throughout Western Europe thousands of years ago. By coincidence as well as by conscious cultivation numerous fruit varieties originated in this way. The gardener of German origin Johann Hermann Knoop (1700/1706?-1769) was the first to systematically research these varieties, and other fruit and plant varieties too.

Recently digitized
Counting sheep

The Handleiding tot de inlandsche schaapsteelt (1835-1836) (‘Introduction to indigenous sheep breeding’) is the first Dutch handbook in the field of sheep farming and breeding. The author, Alexander Numan (1780-1852) was a doctor, professor, director of the Rijks Veeartsenijschool (‘State Veterinary School’), and founder of Veterinary Medicine in the Netherlands. The book was written during the reign of Willem I, the merchant-king who, in 1825,  had information collected about the possibilities to improve the Dutch sheep breeds, thus bringing the quality of their wool to a higher standard. But did it have the desired results?