Eat, Meet, and Greet at Land van Fluwel
This week it’s time for a topic I haven’t talked about in a while: Land van Fluwel. If you read my blog often, you probably already know that the hamburgers are good, but as I know that besides that, my readers don’t know a lot about our park, I thought it was time to talk about it a little more.
The idea of Land van Fluwel started over ten years ago. One of our first ideas for major ‘attractions’ was a pathway in the park that explains ‘The Story of the Tulips,’ a short hike that takes you through different important stages in the history of the Tulip as a commercial flower bulb. Another one of our main goals in the beginning was introducing tourists and other interested people to the flower bulb world of both the past and today. We also thought we could add a small farm to it: chickens, pigs, maybe a goat, some rabbits. We dreamed up a whole plan, and while dreaming is always fun, the plans changed slightly over time, as plans tend to do.
If we were to open the park, it would be very busy to keep everything going alongside the export of flower bulbs to the United States and our own Daffodil nursery, where we hybridize new varieties every year. If we had had more time, it still would have been hard to do financially. But then our dear neighbour Nijboer told us that he was going to sell his farm and the woods surrounding it. It sounded like the perfect place for our park, and when we told him about our ideas and our vision for the park, he gave us the opportunity to finally realize our dream plans.
At first we were going to name it Fluwel’s Tulpenland, where we were going to tell the history of the tulip, accompanied by lots of fun activities for children. During the grand opening we had the Director of the Internationaal Bloembollen Centrum, Mr Frans Rozen, dress up as a Sultan to play into one of the most important places in the history of the Tulip. We wanted a grand opening and after that, lots of visitors, but it was hard to really get it going. It wasn’t a flop, exactly, but it was extremely hard to get visitors to come year-round. During the spring, people were interested in Tulips, sure, but after that people weren’t as attracted to a park that has a spring-blooming flower bulb as its main event.
We struggled on for a little bit, until we met the right man for the job: Kees Vriend. He is one of those people that just does whatever brings him joy, and he does a good job of it, too. He is also a musician, worked as a teacher for a while, went into gardening, and now he has opened a camping, too: Camping Boven het Maaiveld in Hoogwoud. When Kees first saw Land van Fluwel, he saw everything it could be, and he fell in love with the possibilities it offered him. He asked us if he could have the creative freedom to change it into his vision for the park, with, among other things, a Dutch Hide-and-Seek championship, and a barefoot-hiking trail. He also wanted to put a climbing tower in for children and open a pancake house. Everything a young family needs to spend a day outside.
We were looking forward to him executing his vision, and we changed the name from Tulpenland to Land van Fluwel. It would be a playground and adventure forest for children and their parents, and people really started to become enthusiastic and the number of visitors climbed into the right direction until… Covid-19. Plans always work out differently than you would like, and Land van Fluwel had to wait for an extra year before we could really show people our new park. And we still can’t complain about the coronacrisis: while Land van Fluwel suffered from the lack of visitors, our web shop thrived as people had more time for their garden than ever before. The balance between the two made it so that 2020 was a year in which we could not complain, but we still would have liked to see it go differently, of course. And now that covid has passed its dangerous phase, Land van Fluwel is flourishing like it never did before. We see happy families every day.
As I’m talking about Land van Fluwel, I thought I’d use the opportunity to invite you for a nice summer night at the park. There will be music provided by ‘De Flageolettes,’ a barbecue, and, at the request of Suzan, who is the current manages of Land van Fluwel, a Meet & Greet with us, the owners of Fluwel and the park. So I’ll be there, and I’m looking forward to seeing the music: I’ve heard a lot of good things about De Flageolettes, you can listen to them on YouTube too, if you’d like. This party will be organized on July 7, and I am looking forward to seeing you there!
Carlos van der Veek