All posts tagged: dutch

Falling in love with the city of cyclists

The Dutch have the reputation of being one of the happiest nations in the world With their sustainable, healthy lifestyles, accepting nature and liberated attitudes it’s no wonder they have smiles on their faces. Holland is home to 17 million people… I could honestly be very tempted to make that 17 million and 1. To quote an iconic Australia ad for Qantas… “I’ve been to cities all over the world. From New York to Paris and old London town… but no matter how far, or how wide I roam”.… I’m sorry Qantas commercial from 1997… Holland is the first country to tempt me away from calling Australia home.” Why I’ve got a big crush on the bicycle capital of the world Did you know that Holland has more bikes per capita than any other European country? I love ride bikes rather than using taxis when I’m traveling. The wind in my hair always makes me feel free, I get my bearings so much quicker when I have my own wheels and there’s no barriers that stop …

Bending the circle of life back into shape

Seeing new born nature at work with Natuurmonumenten – Holland’s largest nature conservation organization. Iwas lucky enough to join Hanne and José, two of 400 Natuurmonumenten forresters to visit the nature reserves in Pietersberg, Maastricht. Here, Weleda and Natuurmonumenten, are working together to restore nature. Sorry to share this statistic with you but only 15% of biodiversity is left in Holland. But this isn’t a sad story, if anything, the opposite. The wonky wheel doesn’t have to be the circle of life We know that we are doing some pretty damaging things to our planet. We’re a bit bent out of shape and we know we are not enjoying the smoothest of rides into the future. But what I am loving learning is it doesn’t take much to straighten ourselves out, and bend the circle of life into shape. Together we stood overlooking the perfect ‘before and after scenario’ of new born nature at work. To our left is the ENCI quarry which will be returned to Natuurmonumenten in 2020 and turned into limestone based nature. …

Busy hands. Big conversations.

Harvesting Primula with Jan Graafland, Garden Manager in Zoetermeer, NL. The European chapter of Global Garden has begun and the Netherlands has put on such a great show. It wasn’t meant to be a harvest day today but when nature calls, Jan the ‘Nature Manager’ of Weleda Zoetermeer and I came running. When the bees are buzzing around the small yellow Primula flowers it means it prime to get picking. Things run on nature’s calendar here. Here the bees are the boss. Busy hands made for big conversations as together Jan and I picked the 700 grams the in-house pharmacists needed to turn the flowers into natural medicines for the heart. There is a Dutch saying, that goes along the lines : ‘Talking and knitting go hand and hand, but one mustn’t forget about the knitting.’ That might have been a gentle reminder that I was getting too enthralled in the conversation and I needed up the pace on my picking. The harvesting to processing happened in Zoetermeer with-in an hour and a half… that’s fast …