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Nasty storms take down cherished Dutch trees

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

STOKKUM/AMSTERDAM Every tree counts in the Netherlands, a nation which is, with 10.6 percent of its landmass covered with trees, one of the least forested countries in Europe, and even in the entire world (the country's forests are growing in size however). There was consternation recently in the Eastern Dutch municipality of Montferland (on the border with Germany) when a 160-year old oak tree toppled during a nasty storm. Very strong and healthy, the tree nevertheless went down, prompting the municipality to send arborists into the woods and tree stands for a closer inspection of its trees. In addition to a forest, Montferland has 30,000 trees which are located along roads, around parking lots and school yards and in its residential districts. The world's best known tree was the one behind the Anne Frank Museum in the Dutch capital. Anne Frank looked out on it while in hiding, a fact noted in her widely-read diary. The fungus ridden and moth infested tree, held up by a support structure installed two years ago, also toppled during a violent August storm. A number of saplings of this horse-chestnut tree were planted in the U.S. two years ago.