IMC 2008: Sessions

Session 1323: Sink or Swim: Monks as Water Managers

Wednesday 9 July 2008, 16.30-18.00

Organiser:Hildo van Engen, Streekarchief Land van Heusden en Altena
Moderator/Chair:Jens Röhrkasten, School of History & Cultures, University of Birmingham
Paper 1323-aMonastic Institutions and the Consequences of the St Elisabeth's Flood (1421)
(Language: English)
Hildo van Engen, Streekarchief Land van Heusden en Altena
Index terms: Economics - Rural, Monasticism
Paper 1323-bCome Hell or High Water: The Carthusians of Arnhem and Water Management in the Veluwe
(Language: English)
Tom Gaens, Cartusiana vzw, Zelem
Index terms: Economics - Rural, Monasticism, Technology
Paper 1323-cDiking and Draining by the Cistercians in Frisia: A Reassessment with the Help of Property Reconstruction and GIS-Tools
(Language: English)
Johannes A. Mol, Department of History, Fryske Akademy, Leeuwarden / Universiteit Leiden
Index terms: Economics - Rural, Geography and Settlement Studies, Monasticism

This session deals with methods of water management by monastic communities in different areas of the Netherlands. In the areas liable to flooding monastic institutions were highly creative in adapting the surrounding landscape to their basic needs during the later Middle Ages.
Often, such human interventions were necessary to keep the monastic economy going, as is shown by the activities of the Cistercians in Frisia or the Carthusians in the duchy of Guelders. It is not too much to say that these monks can be considered as real water managers.
Sometimes however, their inventiveness could not cope with the challenges posed by nature. Several monasteries belonging to different orders experienced this for many decades after one of the most serious inundations in the history of the northern Netherlands.