De Wandelaar is a blog about walking, philosophy, mindfulness, sustainable living and the appreciation of nature close to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
This website uses a system called WordPress to build it. WordPress is going through some significant changes which impact the development process. As I prefer being outside to sitting behind a computer, I’m not spending much time updating the site until WordPress and other technologies settle down. I’m hoping to have a new site launched some time in Spring before the walking season starts.
Developed through Experience
I began developing this website in January 2019. In April I started walking existing walking paths such as the NS walks, LAWs and Streekpaden.
I am slowly getting a better picture of where I want to take DeWandelaar. In 2019/2020 the website is likely to change direction as this happens. I will keep the website as functional as possible while these changes are taking place.
In August 2019 I began developing my own routes hoping to launch them early spring 2020. These are influenced by me watching children grow up in Amsterdam and reflecting on my own youth in New Zealand. I think taking children outdoors on multi-day “through-hiking” experiences is a great way to bond, get them to learn to appreciate nature, and to discover how much we take for-granted in the city. Adults might learn a bit about themselves too, so I recommend doing these alone for a moment’s peace and mindfulness. Furthermore, I think many Amsterdammers will be surprised by the nature that exists around them. Perhaps then they’ll take more of an active interest in protecting it…
Taking the Long Way
I am determined to make DeWandelaar an authentic, ecologically and socially sustainable project. What this means is that I have to ‘walk the walk’ or visit the campsite since I started the project in 2019. All content such as photos must be original from that date, there is no copy-paste from other sites.
I have to reach all of this on foot, by bike or by public transport keeping carbon emissions to an absolute minimum. No cars are used to get to any of the content, and certainly no jets. This means that DeWandelaar is about local, sustainable tourism, accessible to almost everyone in The Netherlands.
I don’t have a financial business model and I like the integrity of staying independent. I develop everything myself and do not use third-party web developers or marketing support. I have philosophical reservations about advertising or writing reviews.
About the Author
My name is Jens. I am a first generation New Zealander, born in the early 1970s to German immigrants. From my earliest years I have spent long periods in native bush where I have developed a strong appreciation for flora and fauna, wherever it is found. Later I spent a large part of my life traveling through New Zealand, camping in the wilderness and tramping many hiking trails.
After completing University and a few years of work, I left New Zealand in 1997 for my OE (Overseas Experience). My travels took me to parts of Asia, America and Africa before I started to base myself in London and continue my career. I have to say that today I have some ‘flying-shame’ from the amount of air-travel I did during my younger years and have resolved to keep carbon emissions to a minimum. For example, I haven’t owned a car in almost 15 years.
I moved to the Netherlands in 2001 where I met my wife. In 2010, after the arrival of two children, I became a house-husband. I thought it was a necessary balance between career and family. That change in lifestyle has given me the opportunity to re-evaluate what is important in life. Being a house-husband, unhindered by career (but occasionally overwhelmed by home management responsibilities and teenagers), showed me the importance of parenting and raising children.
Now that our children are getting older, I have a little more time to pursue projects such as DeWandelaar, my efforts in nature conservation and to rediscover the Netherlands.
During the development of this website I have used and continue to use several resources that have helped me. In no particular order these include (with external links);
Wandelnet. I am a fan of multi-day hikes and Wandelnet is responsible for the LAW (Lange Afstand Wandelingen – Long Distance Walks) and Streekpaden (Regional Walks) around The Netherlands. They include NS walks – see the next link.
NS Walks. This is the NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen – Dutch Rail) website with the NS station-to-station walks.
Wandelzoekpagina. This is a huge resource of tracks around The Netherlands, run by some experienced hikers and publishers of hiking guides. They include the “Trage Tocht” and “Groene Wissels” series of walks. The authors help the organisations above.
Things I like…
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” – John Muir