sleeping under the stars in North Groningen

Frits’ house and garden are very secluded

What does a night’s sleep in the Groningen open air do to someone?
‘Often, at the beginning, so right after arrival, guests still suffer from stress. “There are other campers,” they grumble. ‘Then we have to share this and that…’ My answer is the same time and time again: take a look at it, enjoy a day and then make a judgment. At some point, they’re gone. They ‘de-stress’ and open up as it were. They just need a little time to get in. Many guests see my grounds as the perfect place to unwind after a long working week, and enjoy quality time, clean air and 180 degree sun. They arrive here, get out of the car – [as an illustration Frits breathes deep through his nose] – and get an overdose of oxygen. Really, I respect people who live in Amsterdam, where space and fresh air are limited.

My terrain is the perfect place to unwind, and enjoy quality time, clean air and 180 degree sun

It sounds like you’ve created some kind of oasis. Does it feel the same way?
“It’s funny you call it that. My brother lives in Australia and a while ago he was visiting. He too was enthusiastic about the Campspace and the contact with guests that comes with it. And guests, in turn, enjoyed speaking to an Aussie (someone from Australia). My brother just noticed that the Campspace should have been called corroboree. A corroboree is a meeting place in Aboriginal culture. They come together to dance and tell stories. I have to agree with him; my Campspace does indeed feel like a meeting place.

Around frits’ yard lies a nature reserve of 16 hectares

To what extent can guests get in touch with you?
‘I’m definitely open to it. But I’m not going to get in their way either. Since 1992 I have my own construction company. I specialize in the use of organic materials. For work, I travel all over the country. I usually leave on Sunday nights, and i’ll be in an Airbnb until Thursday. What makes my Campspace unique is that as a guest you can check in and out whenever you want. You’re always welcome, even when I’m not home myself. As a result, it’s always a surprise who I find in the yard on Thursday night. I have been receiving guests on my property for over ten years. In all these years, All I saw was happy faces after I got home. What else do I want?

Plenty to do. For example, pick your own vegetables or relax in the sun

What is there to experience on and around your yard?
‘There is always a place that is needed for you at that moment, from the wind and in the sun. You can lie down in the grass, you can sit under a tree, you can pick your own vegetable from the vegetable garden or you can sit behind the attic window with a booklet. If you prefer to go out, you can of course also grab your bike and cycle to the Wadden Sea – Europe’s largest beach. On the North Groningen coast there is usually no human being to be seen. When they lose me, I’ll be at the dob, an excavated nature pond in the adjacent nature reserve of the State Forest Service. The water is pure and clean. You can swim there all year round or practice the Wim Hof method (breathing technique) for example.

End your evening around the campfire

The nearby Dark Sky Park Lauwersmeer will not apply until late at night. What does it mean? And what can guests expect

‘Dark Sky Park Lauwersmeer (Lauwersmeer National Park and the area around it) is the least populated part of the Netherlands. The stars are extremely visible because there is hardly any light pollution. You feel like you’re in a 3D starry sky all the time. The Milky Way, Orion; You can see them all. There are tours you can do at night. You’ll go into Dark Sky Park with a ranger. Your mobile phone is left behind, because even if your screen lights up, there is already light pollution. It’s only when you’ve walked around here that you realize how dark it can really get. So the Dark Sky Park means that a new world is opening up for you, that you will see the bigger picture a little better.’ − € 20 per night

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