Author seeks Westland greenhouse stories :

Wanted: Epic greenhouse construction anecdotes from the past

Dutch writer Clemens Soszna is planning on writing a book about the history of the greenhouse construction.

Photos from Facebook Nostalgia Westland

Clemens Soszna is looking for interesting stories regarding greenhouse construction. For several years, he has been publishing stories from Westland's history on the Nostalgia Westland facebook page. The first story bundle about Westland, published by Uitgeverij West Media, will be in the shops soon. "That is how we got the idea of a book about greenhouse construction," says Clemens. "I've already got some youngsters who want to participate, but I'm also looking for stories from the 40's, 50's, just after the war."

The writer himself comes from a typical Dutch Westland family. Growing up near greenhouses, with a father working in a greenhouse and eleven children who, from an early age, also earned money from horticulture. "From about six years of age collecting old peels in an old vegetable box on wheels, you got paid a few cents for it. And later on these kind of stilts between the tomato plants. Those iron stilts with a leather strap that you never tied properly just to be fast. With these, quite a few have fallen flat on their face between the plants."

Very hard labor
With roots in horticulture, Clemens is now focusing on greenhouse construction, of which he knows there are special stories to be found. Previously, he wrote about Jack Middelburg. "Working very hard, but there was also another side to it – The ’what do you care?’ attitude", he says. "That's also how he did his racing, that’s how he won a lot of races, but it also did cost him his life. That's a familiar story, but there are also many unknown stories." And, the fearless mentality of the greenhouse builders plays a role. "How many builders have been crushed by glass windows," Clemens sniggers. "I still remember that my brother came in with an injured wrist. That's the way it was in those times." However, he doesn't want to hear anything about the bad reputation of the greenhouse industry. "There are the entrepreneurs who want to get started. And sure, they're all tough workers. Perhaps before more so than now, but it's in the genes."

Do you have special stories and old photographs about the life and works of the Westland greenhouse builder? Please contact Clemens!

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