The Lijnbaan Plane Tree Needs Your Vote!
I live in the center of a big city and yet only fifty meters from the Tree of the Year. Or, well, one of the nominees for the Dutch Tree of the Year election 2019 .
This tree, the famous Lijnbaan Plane Tree, the tree that has seen it all, has been nominated as a candidate for the province of South Holland. The 168-year-old giant is so large that I had to paste six photos together to get this full picture of it.
It is a tree that has a story to tell. A tree that has seen the world around it change beyond recognition during its lifetime.
In 1851 it was planted in the garden of the Coolsingel Hospital, which at that time was on the outskirts of the city.
During the bombing on May 14, 1940, most the hospital was destroyed, but the tree survived the bombs and the subsequent blaze.
In the 1960s, the last remains of the hospital were demolished and the world’s first car-free shopping street, the Lijnbaan, was created. A special little plaza was made around the plane tree; the gate of the hospital also got a place here.
During a renovation at the end of the nineties, the plaza was slightly reduced in size, making the tree look even larger. And in recent years, the plane tree witnessed the large-scale (and very noisy) construction activities for the adjacent Forum.
Around the plane tree there is a flower bed with a natural stone border on which countless shoppers and other passers-by sit down during shopping days (and these days there are 364 of them in a year). A nice tranquil haven in the hectic city center.
Plane trees can grow very old, reportedly up to 4000 years. In that respect, the Lijnbaan Plane Tree is just a youngster who still has a whole life ahead. It certainly looks very healthy; a good sign seems to me that in the autumn it holds on to its leaves for a long time. Usually the last leaves don’t fall down untill the last days of December.
To close to call
To summarize: a candidate that Rotterdam can be proud of. Will the city be able, after bringing in the Eurovision Song Contest, to also win this totally incomparable election?
At the time of writing, the Lijnbaan Plane Tree and the candidate for the province of Brabant have roughly the same number of votes, leaving the the other nominees far behind them. Come on, fellow townspeople and sympathizers, give the plane tree some help! Voting is possible until October 16 on the Tree of the Year website.