Oak on divider of Dutch highway elected "tree of the year"

Oak tree in the middle of the A58 highway at Ulvenhout
Oak tree in the middle of the A58 highway at Ulvenhout. (Photo: M.Minderhoud / Wikimedia Commons)

The oak tree on the central divider of the A58 highway in Noord-Brabant was elected the Tree of the Year. A total of 2,834 people voted for the Troeteleik, as the tree is affectionately known. The so-called Troostboom on estate TerWorm in Heerlen came in second place with 1,858 votes, NU.nl reports.

The election was organized by SBNL Natuurfonds. The oak will now compete for the title of European Tree of the Year. 

Thousands of motorists drive by the remarkable oak tree at Ulvenhout every day. The A58 highway there was once the driveway of country house Anneville. When the A58 was built in 1986, the nineteenth century tree was allowed to stay.

But now that the A58 is being widened, there is no room left for the striking oak, according to public works department Rijkswaterstaat. Adjustments to preserve the Anneville oak tree would cost around 3.5 million euros, which is not available in the budget. According to the current planning, the oak tree will be cut down in 2020. 

"We have not yet found a good and affordable solution", Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure and Water Management said about the oak. But she, together with other stakeholders, will continue to look for a way to save the "monumental tree".