Throughout the seventeenth century the Dutch and Flemish enjoyed the reputation of being the best-fed population in Europe. Immigrants and refugees from the Low Countries brought their know-how and eating habits with them. Their arrival in the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries coincided with the beginning of commercial market gardening in England. Dutch and Flemish immigrants were the first to grow them on a commercial scale.
The skill of Dutch and Flemish gardeners did much to alter the English landscape. Many varieties of flowers now considered native to England were brought over from the Low Countries, not to mention the cultivation of bulbs. The tulip became an object of insane speculation. Paintings were often cheaper than the flowers they depicted. Dutch flower painter Simon Pieterszoon Verelst (1644––1721?) became the best-paid artist in London after he settled there.
Immigrants from the Low Countries also engineered some of the most fertile areas of Britain today. Cornelius Vermuyden (1590––1677) was responsible for the draining the Fens (Cambridgeshire) which gave an enormous boost to England's agricultural development. In summary: the English agricultural revolution coincided with an influx of immigrants from the Low Countries who enriched almost every aspect of British agriculture.
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