“…the symmetry of the tree-lined lanes…
… lets me see the countryside as if through a window, giving me a feeling of security,” wrote the 19th century German writer Theodor Fontane. In his “Walks through the Mark Brandenburg”, he repeatedly described the pleasure of walking down the shady lanes, under “grand old Linden trees” or along a road “with young mountain ashes in all their red splendour”.
Security and protection are afforded in particular by avenues with centuries-old trees and their protective canopies. Tree-lined streets and roads have long been part of Europe’s landscape culture. They structured the space in parks and gardens, linked important trade centres and made travel easier. The closed treetop canopy protected travellers from sun, rain and snow, while the trees prevented their carts from slipping off the road. The vast majority of today’s avenues were laid in the mid-19th century and replanted at the beginning of the 20th century. Back then, many country roads were repaved and new trees planted. It is now up to us to maintain this green heritage and preserve it for the future.
Avenues are unique: as a cultural landscape, as a habitat for animals and as an air filter. And they are beautiful.
Tree-lined avenues crisscross the cultural landscapes of Europe like green veins. In intensively farmed areas, in particular, they link up valuable natural habitats while serving as nesting and resting places and sources of food for many animals.
Avenues provide shade, are a treat for the eye, create habitat for animals, and when lined with fruit trees can give unexpected juicy refreshment on a long bike ride. Their trees have been filtering pollutants out of the air for decades or even centuries, lining streets and roads as seemingly permanent fixtures, as though nothing could harm them. Many such avenues, nevertheless, are endangered by exhaust fumes, road salt and road construction. Old and diseased trees need to be replaced.
Network of avenues
The total number of kilometres of tree-lined European avenues can only be estimated; it is nonetheless certain that they are endangered in all countries. Many friends of such avenues have therefore joined forces across national borders in an ‘Avenue Network’ to preserve these beautiful green tunnels throughout Europe for future generations.
We plan to use our avenue network to establish an energetic pan-European group of avenue protectors, enabling us to protect our avenues, strengthen our lobbying efforts and act quickly when we have to. And, on the other hand, fans of tree-lined avenues – who, for example, want to preserve a specific avenue – should always be able to quickly find information about avenues as well as a contact number and contact persons in their own country.
We appreciate all forms of involvement and support, whether as a new expert for our network, as a sponsor, or simply as an “avenue fan”. We look forward to hearing from you!