After the second world war, professor Sprenger was inspired to organise a study related association for the horticulture students. On the 15th of November 1945 the first plant related study association and the second study association in all of Wageningen was founded. The board was chosen in the lecture of professor Sprenger and Arie Groot would become founding chairman. He was later made an honorary member to crown his achievement of building up the association. The name VWTS was chosen as it is an abbreviation for ‘Vereniging voor Wageningse Tuinbouw Studenten’ (Association for Horticulture Students from Wageningen). While not a very imaginative name compared to today’s standards, the name served as a short description of the association, which was necessary, because study associations were far from common in those days. To introduce themselves as a new association and contact point for students the board visited the director of horticulture from the ministry of agriculture.

VWTS set four goals for itself which were: Stimulating the interest of its members in horticulture, strengthening the bond between horticulture students, broadening the understanding of horticulture and related sciences and representing horticulture students towards governing bodies of the university.

Like most study associations in their early years, VWTS its activities were mostly theme evenings and excursions, but that wasn’t all they did. For instance, the first BuitEx (foreign excursion) to England was already organised in 1947! Drinks were organised in utopia (Franciscus) filling the entire bar with horticulture students. It’s said that almost all of the 100-200 members were active and attending activities. The contact between VWTS and the Horticulture university department was also described to be exceptionally good.

Instead of having their lectures on the Dreijen campus, the horticulture students were more often found on the Binnenhaven where greenhouses and an orchard could be found. It was a completely different campus for several plant sciences. One of the education buildings, ‘Het Laboratorium voor Tuinbouwplantenteelt’, has even been pronounced a monument by the Wageningen municipality and still stands at the haagsteeg 4.

Phytopathological Centre of the university (1970) at the Binnenhaven. The outer top left corner of the picture shows the Horticulture greenhouses of the University.

VWTS was a successful Association in that it managed to keep active for over 50 years! The association made the anniversary book ‘Goud’ for the occasion. Sadly two years later the association had to undergo a merge with study association Arvense, because the associated studies of both associations had shrinking numbers of students forcing the university to merge the two studies. It was a logical step to then merge the study associations too, which happened in 1997.

Laboratory for Horticulture. It was pronounced a municipal monument for its application of the ‘Amsterdamse schoolstijl’.

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