'CurieuzeNeuzen in de tuin' is an initiative by the University of Antwerp, De Standaard, in collaboration with Rabobank.be, Orange, Vito, VMM, Departement Enonomie, Wetenschap en Innovatie, Departement Omgeving, Bio-Planet, DPD and Aquafin.

For several years in a row, heat and drought records have followed one another. Our summers are getting hotter and drier, and we are increasingly affected by these extreme weather events. You've probably noticed it in your garden: dry patches appear in the lawn, or trees lose their leaves prematurely during a heat wave. But farmers and managers of nature reserves are also increasingly seeing the direct consequences of heat and drought.

How do we ensure that our garden remains cool during a heat wave? And how do we better arm our gardens, as well as our parks, fields and natural areas, against drought?

In 2021 we mapped heat and drought in great detail all over Flanders. It’s a challenging scientific problem and requires a lot of measuring points. Precisely for this reason, CurieuzeNeuzen appealed 5000 citizen scientists to place a smart sensor in their garden, school playground, park or private domain. These smart sensors transmitted their data to the database of the University of Antwerp by using the Internet of Things, thereby making the data available to scientists in real time. Participants had access to their garden data through a personal online dashboard.  

The project was extended for 2022: 3000 smart sensors were placed in the soil for CurieuzeNeuzen in the Garden.