Oude visvijvers in Zuid-Limburg
Very little research has been done on old fishponds in the Netherlands. The first part of this article reviews the literature on the subject, set against the background of international literature. In the Middle Ages the number of ponds must have been considerable, but in the greater part of the country very few remains. In the 19th century pond-culture still had some importance only in the southernmost part of the country, the hilly southern part of the province of Limburg.
The second part presents a survey of fishponds in the region of South Limburg in the first half of the 19th century. At that time 90 pond systems, each consisting of two or more ponds, still were in existence in this region. Most of them belonged to manors and country-seats, although some had been built originally by religious institutions.
The ponds were classified after their location in narrow or wider stream valleys or in flatter landscapes. Different types of systems can be distinguished: long series of ponds in narrow valleys as opposed to other types on flatter sites. Another distinction has been made between irregularly and regularly shaped ponds, the first probably being the oldest.
Although the dates of construction of most ponds are unknown, it is obvious that ponds were constructed during a long period. Some ponds certainly are of medieval origin, the oldest of these being mentioned in the 11th century, but as late as the 18th century ponds still were considered a normal part of an estate. Some of the old ponds still exist today. Fieldwork revealed traces of some of the other ponds. More attention to these traces is demanded.