The cows we see around us today are descended from the aurochs, a type of cattle that is now extinct. It was dark brown to black brown in colour and much larger than our cows. Around 9000 years ago people in the Middle East started domesticating aurochs, as they wanted a supply of meat to hand. They quickly discovered that cows are useful for other things too. For example, they were later also used as draught animals and their milk was used to make products such as cheese and butter.


Pigs belong to the genus Sus and are known to have lived in East Asia since the Miocene epoch (between 25 and 2 million years ago). There are many different types of wild pig and all domesticated pigs are descended from them.

In the early 19th century there were two types of pig in the Netherlands: a small, prick-eared pig and a large, lop-eared pig. The former had disappeared entirely by the mid-19th century. Over the course of that century a number of other breeds were introduced to turn the lop-eared pig into an early-maturing, faster-growing pig.


It is thought that our museum goat is descended from a wild goat species: the Bezoar goat. Goats and sheep were the first ruminants to be domesticated by humans. This was around 10,000 years ago in the region we now know as Iran and Iraq.


‘Boeldag’ is a word used in the northern Netherlands for a public auction. If a person decided to sell some or all of his assets, a ‘boeldag’ would be organised with the assistance of a notary.

All the items and the livestock were divided up into lots. The notary would place an announcement in the regional newspapers indicating the location, date and time of the auction. This would also list the items to be sold.


During an auction at a farm agricultural tools were often sold too. Sometimes these were as good as new, sometimes they had seen several years of use and sometimes they were virtually antiques. You would come across all kinds of things at an auction.

The tools you can see here could have been on sale at such an auction. They form part of the equipment that would have been used on an average farm. All these items featured in auction announcements in around 1930.

As not everyone will know what each tool was used for, we provide a brief explanation of each one.