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From Leiden

Team event Leiden

It was February when I received a request from the event manager of an international company. She was looking for a nice team event Leiden and had seen the Leidens Ontzet Treasure Hunt on the website of Verita’s Visit Holland. Could I organise this group activity late March?

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De Stijl open air museum Leiden

It’s like the orange madness, only in primary colours.  It is in every city in the Netherlands. Everywhere. You can’t turn a corner without bumping into a red-white-blue and yellow & black decoration or object. It’s what happened to me. I was in Leiden for my regularly city walk. Walked through the city centre, into one of the historical streets. Turned the corner and there it was: a De Stijl open air museum Leiden.

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August Events in the Netherlands

Summer in Holland is fantastic. Long, colourful days with nice temperatures and a good amount of sunshine ( most of the time at least).   Whether you like music, food or flowers, t here’s always something to do. Most of the time you can even combine all of your interests, passions and hobbies by going to one place or even one festival. In the post  Summer Festival Hopping you could already read about my favourite festivals in the province South Holland. Now, to make sure you won’t miss out on some typical Dutch activities during your Holland holiday I wanted to highlight some August events in the Netherlands that Verita’s Visit organises themed food & flowers.

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Leiden-Keukenhof bike tour : Family Outing

It’s a 40 km bike ride, around 24 miles and a great mix of different typical dutch landscapes. the Leiden-Keukenhof bike tour is definitely worth it and a great idea for a family outing as well. See for yourself.

Celebrating Mondriaan & Dutch Design at syrup waffle stop on Leiden-Keukenhof bike tour

What I love about the Leiden-Keukenhof bike tour is what happens when the first flower field is spotted. In the first part, from Leiden till the lake area Kagerplassen you see canals, windmills,  monumental houses. Here and there a beautiful garden full of spring flowers.

The power flower effect!

The first flower field comes into sight a 30 minutes cycling from Leiden.  A sparkle in the eyes, the corners of the mouth curl into a smile and suddenly the cycling seems to go much easier. Spotting the first flower field, breathing in the fresh air mixed with the perfume of hyacinth, it gives energy. That is thé power flower effect!

 

The story of a Dutch farmer & his cheese farm

Once upon a time there were two farmers. Both lived and worked in the Green Heart of the Randstad, the area between Utrecht, Leiden, The Hague and Rotterdam. One was a cheese farmer in Zoeterwoude and the other a business man on  his parents’ cheese farm in Kamerik. Although they lived some miles apart, there were different aspects that tied them to each other.

Karin cheesemaker at Kaasboerderij van Veen at a local Dutch farmers cheese festival
Karin cheesemaker at Kaasboerderij van Veen at a local Dutch farmers cheese festival

Royal Supplier Dutch farmer cheese

I had invited Sjaak van Veen to the Dutch Culture Talk about the photo exhibition on farmers in the Netherlands in the The Hague Gemeentemuseum. His story, the story of a Dutch farmer, started decades ago.  When his parents started farming there were almost no rules and regulations. No one came to do check ups on the hygiene in the cheese farm, on the health and the nutrition of the animals. Running a cheese farm became more difficult from 1984 on. That was the time Sjaak took over the farm from his parents.  Now inspectors come every week to test the milk, see if the cows are healthy and if they’re chipped. Sjaak and his wife Karin, who is the actual Dutch cheesemaker, are lucky, because although the Dutch government & EU regulations make farming and producing cheese difficult, they are still able to deliver good quality cheese. Their farmers cheese won many awards and their farm, Kaasboerderij van Veen is even the official royal supplier.

They do have a difficult time finding succesors. Running a cheese farm requires different skills than a regular farm. They show people what life on the farm is really about and often give guided tours & cheese tastings to groups of school-aged children trying to make them interested in a future as a cheese farmer.

Cattle shed converted into a meeting room at De Boerinn
Cattle shed converted into a meeting room at De Boerinn

New life for a dutch cheese farm

Due to the milkquota in 2001 Hendrik Jan Hoogendoorn  had to take a brave decision.  He converted his parents’ cheese farm into de Boerinn, a place where recreational activities & business activities meet. In this inn there are rooms for different group sizes, ideal for business meetings and dinners made of regional products. The hayloft is definitely the most authentic place with an amazing view on the farmer’s land.  If you are on your own or with a group of friends or family you can also enjoy this view from the watchtower.

 

The 40 hectares of land invite every visitor to go on adventure. Either you go on a polder walk or choose from the many options de Boerinn offers like golf on clogs or survival games in the polder.  If the weather is bad there’s  an authentic farmhouse, decorated in Old Dutch style where you can do different old Dutch games.Farm land around Boerinn-veritasvisit

 

Although the focus of the ex cheese farm is not on cheese anymore, there are still enough things that hint to the past, like the cheese making workshop. The two brothers, Hendrik Jan and Elmar Hoogendoorn will always do their best to cherish the past and prepare for the future.

 

A polderwalk in Kamerik,  through the land of De Boerinn is part of the Culture & Cheese Tour Woerden on Saturday 2 July. You can still join. Send an email to travel(@)veritasvisit.nl for more information.

Verita’s Visit organises meet & greets with these two men so you can hear the story of a Dutch farmer at the Kaasboerderij Van Veen and at the De Boerinn.  This can be combined with Dutch cheese farm cycle tours in the area of Gouda, Leiden or Woerden. On request a guided tour on the (cheese) farm, a Dutch cheese making workshop, lunch and other activities can be included.