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.
The first goats probably arrived in the Netherlands in around 5300 BC. They formed part of the livestock kept on the first farm settlements in South Limburg. From here goats spread throughout the Netherlands. Old Dutch paintings often feature a couple of goats in farmyard scenes. They were often depicted near playing children or in front of a goat cart.
Goats are not fussy eaters. Other than grass, they also eat sticks, shrubs and all sorts of other plants. They can survive on poor ground that is unsuitable for cows. Goats are a source of both milk and meat.
The Holland Open Air Museum is home to Dutch Landrace goats, a breed that had almost disappeared by the early 1960s.