The Mother Tree is going for gold!

The Mother Tree in the race for European tree of the year

The centuries-old, characteristic Mother Tree on the Market Square in Etten-Leur (province of Brabant) is the Dutch candidate for the title of European Tree of the Year. From February 1 to 28, everyone can vote via to help the unique tree to victory.

In October last year, the Mother Tree was chosen as the 2020 Tree of the Year in the national election. This was by an overwhelming majority of 3,593 votes. The two-stemmed wingnut in Middelburg (province of Zeeland) finished at 2nd place with 2,450 votes. 3rd place was achieved by the red beech in Domies Toen in Pieterburen (province Groningen) with 2083 votes. This election is organized annually by SBNL Natuurfonds in Leersum.  

Raising awareness 

Maaike Brasz, steward of SBNL Natuurfonds: 'The purpose of this election is to make people aware of the importance and beauty of trees. The Mother Tree is a defining feature of the area where she stands. It forms a beautiful sight with the old buildings around it and has an important social significance. For centuries it has been a place of connection and meeting.'

And there is more. 'Ecologically, she is a true multitasker. The tree fulfills a function in the production of oxygen, the storage of CO2 and of water. She is also a bastion of biodiversity, as she can house up to 30,000 critters and microorganisms. All this makes the Mother Tree an ideal candidate for the election," Brasz said.

"The Mother Tree is the pride of Etten-Leur, of Brabant and of The Netherlands."

The Mother Tree

In Etten-Leur there are approximately 1,350 linden trees of various species. Their heart-shaped leaves symbolize love, their blossoms fertility and tranquility. The oldest linden tree stands on the Market Square, the Mother Tree. This tree is a large-leaved linden tree (Tilia platyphyllos) that was planted more than 345 years ago. This happened at the place where in the Middle Ages justice was pronounced. A place where criminals were sentenced, and the innocent were acquitted. A memorable place. 

The Mother Tree has been a symbol of connection for all these years. It is deeply rooted in the heart of Etten-Leur. The characteristic tree is a place for meeting, fraternization, and entertainment on sunny days. And obviously because of the more than 8,000 LED lights that make the tree a source of light in the dark winter months. 

The striking tree cherishes 1001 events, stories, and emotions. Young loves have blossomed under its long-gnarled branches. Everyone remembers that first kiss under the tree. The Mother Tree saw Vincent van Gogh strolling here and Van Gogh saw the tree standing here... The Mother Tree overlooks four of the five Van Gogh monuments in Etten-Leur: the Van Gogh Church, the former 'verger's house', the Old Town Hall and the Lambertus Church. It is no coincidence that the prize-winning Van Gogh cycle route also passes by the Mother Tree. It is the starting point and end point of two circular routes from Etten-Leur.

Unique shape

The Mother Tree has a unique shape. A linden tree of this age should have been 20 metres tall. Probably by lightning or a storm she lost her top long ago. Because of her age, the heavy branches are supported by an iron frame. Through good care and expert pruning, the tree has always maintained its striking crown shape. 



Practical information. Vote now!

For one month, from February 1 to February 28, 2021, everybody may vote for the nominated trees for the European Tree of the Year election. You are asked to vote for two trees.
After you cast your votes, you will receive a confirmation email at the email address you provided. Only after your confirmation will your votes be counted.

Fifteen countries participate in the European tree election. The results will be announced in March in the European Parliament in Brussels.  

Vote here for the Mother Tree!