During our house sitting assignment in Zelhem in the East of the Netherlands we discovered four major merits about the Netherlanders:
- They love to be in the outdoors despite the often harsh weather
- They allow nature space to retrieve the biodiversity
- They understand the importance to provide outdoor recreational areas.
- They are dog-friendly people and almost always allow dogs into parks and on trails as long as they are on a leash.
Only in the province of Gelderland, where the little host town of Zelhem belongs to, lies an expanded network of well maintained walking and cycling trails all over the place. Just in front of the house, where we house sat for a month, starts for example the Boelekeerl path. It meanders through the meadows, on dikes along trenches and passes through forests with old, majestic trees. Birds are plentiful in the moorlands, which lay in between patches of heath with its pretty lilac flowers. Nature does not even halt at the house. Directly in front of the living room’s window in an old tree, an owl-chick pops its head out of its nest punctually on time at eight o’clock every evening to get a bit of meat on its doorstep.
Despite the fact that the Netherlands is the third most densely populated country in Europe after Malta and England it doesn’t feel crowded in this part of the country. The neighbor`s farmhouse is about half a kilometer away and the countryside in the Province of Gelderland generally makes a rather rural, laid-back impression. Surely it is different in and around Amsterdam.
For information about the Province Gelderland and the walking and cycling trails see: