• Excursions around the farm
• How to get there
A very warm welcome to our farm ‘Schoonderbeek’. Our farm lies in the heart of the ‘Gelderse Vallei’: the valley between Amersfoort and Barneveld – right in the heart of The Netherlands. We are Rosa and Armando Kok (mother and son). We live on ‘Schoonderbeek Farm’ together with 50 dairy milk cows, 20 calves, two goats, cats and our Labrador dog, Bellou. At our place you can enjoy the beauty of the Dutch countryside. We have deliberately chosen small scale farming as our means of existence. To us it is the best way to preserve our environment, with respect for all living creatures . We conduct our farm-business organic-dynamically: we do not use chemicals and fertilizers and do not engage in genetically manipulated seeds, crops and feed. Therefore, our organic-dynamic livestock production system carries the, protected EKO and Demeter Hallmark. This means we solely work with e-COWS – ‘organic cows’ (www.demeter.nl).
We are a ‘organic farmers’, as people call it here. We likes to point out the importance of small scale and durability farming everywhere we can. We also organise farm-excursions and other events around the farm. We offer a possibility to help on the farm as a wwoofer. You can also participate in the adopt-your-own-cow project and camp out on the farm and experience it all for yourself. Rosa not only organises the activities on the farm, she also organizes lessons s for individualist and courses in ‘play-painting’ – a playful artform everyone can partake in. Rosa invites you to let your pencil play on paper, to follow your impulses, to experience what it does to you, to experience the emotions painting and art can bring: joy, inspiration, creativity, strength, satisfaction, insight, etc.
Rosa not only beiing a qualified arts teacher also works as family constellations councellor. She provides groups with this activity on the farm on a regular basis. The family constellatian consists of a way of getting to know and understand one’s family background in connection to certain questions and possible personal problems.
Schoonderbeek Farm is a organic-dynamic farm in De Glind (Achterveld), between Amersfoort and Barneveld. The farm has 50 cattle on 22 ha. of land close to the farm. A little further away we grow potatoes and wheat (6 ha) and have grasslands (9 ha), some more land (3 ha) for cattle.
About organic dynamic farming:
We try to keep our cows as naturally and cow-friendly as possible. This implies a herd of not more than 50 or 60 cows. Young animals can stay with their mothers and are not separated directly after birth. We keep the cows in a traditional ‘sloping shed’. It is a rectangular shed, the floor of which is completely covered with straw. This enables every cow to find its own place to rest. It also offers enough space when there’s a ranking fall-out. Their horns are antennas to the environs and especially to catch the energy from the cosmos as the planets and the moon. The cows do not need to have their horns clipped as there is enough natural space for each individual cow or calf. The calves can also stay with their mothers longer than two weeks, as part of the herd.
The straw-dung from the ‘sloping shed’ is spread across the land in the Spring. This particular dung stimulates an active and fertile soil. In the wintertime the straw-dung pile is treated with b.d. preparations it is becoming a kind of living organism; it getting an extra dimension.
Field birds also profit from this rich dung. On the land we can spot plovers, godwits and redshanks. Their nests are being tracked and protected by volunteers. The fringes of the farmland are kept free of dung and supply us with an abundance of herbs alongside the ditches. This rich herbal differentiation and the presence of clover will give a healthy production of milk from the cows that stay in the field during day and the night.
Since every cow has enough space in the field, we do not need to invest in buying concentrates. We can grow part of it ourselves. In this way, we try to keep the natural cycle of things as intact as possible.
As farmers we treasure meetings between consumers and producers, between city-people and the farmer. It is essential to talk about how much is needed to produce healthy milk and explain the necessary stages. We are keen on enlarging consumers’ knowledge and understanding of the products that one eats and drinks. See: adopt-a-cow.
Talking about countryside-related subjects is also very important to us: cows in the field, small-scale farming, nature development, an active human and animal-friendly countryside, organic farming. Talking about these subjects and exchanging points of view all contribute to a countryside that is alive. Also discussing consumers’ behaviour and its consequence, which specific kind of agricultural activity fits which specific kind of environment and area, are subjects We regard things like these very much worthwhile and necessary. We enjoy answering any questions that comes up spontaneously during a tour around the farm. Such an excursion on our biological farm takes up an hour and a half.
Companies and organisations: € 75,- / € 125,- per hour.
Schools and Clubs: ask for information.
Working on the farm
We offer a place to work on our farm to one trainee or somebody who specifically wants to learn and experience farming. Schoonderbeek Farm offers care and maintenance of cattle (including milking) and care and maintenance of grassland (including trucking). The work our cows and land need, can be learned or perfected, depending on your present level of education and routine. If you need to write a paper, we can offer you our farm statistics. Our farm is an eaquor-learning farm. For more information on organic farming read: ‘excursions’and ‘agricultural advice’.
In 1991 the farm changed from traditional farming to organic dynamic. At present there are 50 fullbred cows and 20 calves. We also grow corn but that does not yield much work. We have a 1 00 acre farm on loamy sand. Geographically, the farm is situated in the middle of The Netherlands: the ‘Gelderse Vallei’, the vally between Amersfoort and Barneveld.
For your stay, we can offer a caravan to live in. During the evenings, nights and Sundays you will have to be on your own. That is why we think it is important for you to be able to live with the tranquility and peace of the country. If you cannot stand to live with ‘silence’, it is no use to come and work with us. A hot meal is offered and shared by all working on the farm. A hot meal is usually eaten during lunchtime,or sometimes in the evening. In the evening you eat a bread-based meal and for that you are responsible yourself. We can offer you the things you will need for that. No drugs.
During the week, we work on the farm from 10.30 hours in the morning until seven o’clock at night. You have time off in the week-end.
For every week of your traineeship a small travelling-allowance is possible for one time per week, when you live in the direction of the farm.
Schiphol Air port
Take the train to Amersfoort or (Barneveld).
There is a train station both in Amersfoort and Barneveld, www.ns.nl.
You can take an ordinary taxi from the trainstation at Amersfoort (€ 30,- price in 2011) and Barneveld. Schoonderbekerweg nr. 13, 3794 NA De Glind / Achterveld. Or make use of regio-taxi (cheaper): the principle of regio-taxi is that you call this taxi at least an hour in advance, up to 10.30 pm. The taxi-company stops driving at midnight. More people may have to make use of this taxi and be dropped off at other places along the way. You will have to take a margin of 15 minutes into account. A taxistop for the Regio taxi can be found in front off Amersfoort station.
From Amersfoort: Regiotaxi Eemland Soest: call 0031 900-1122445. One person cost € 8.60. Our address you will have to give the driver is: Schoonderbekerweg 13, 3794 NA, De Glind/Achterveld
From Barneveld station: Regio-taxi: call 0031 900-0276. One person cost € 8.70. Schoonderbekerweg 13, 3794 NA De Glind/Achterveld.
Between Amersfoort and Barneveld there are Syntus busses, please consult www.9292ov.nl
From Amersfoort railway station, bus number 17. Stop at the village of Leusden at stop’Groene zoom’. From there you take the small bus 509 to Achterveld / Barneveld. This bus service stops around 6.15 pm. On Saturdays and on holidays the bus starts somewhat later in the morning. On Sunday the bus only rides if you make a reservation an hour in advance, which can be done here (site is only in dutch) From Barneveld trainstation you may take the little buurtbus 509 to Achterveld / Leusden. The bus stop in Achterveld is called ‘Huize St. Joseph’, in the centre of Achterveld. You get off there and walk a 100 back meters in the direction of Barneveld, take the first road on your right. This is Schoonderbekerweg; it has a cafeteria at the corner. From there, it is a 600 meters walk. You will see our farm with a thatched roof on your left, (See map in GoogleMaps). For the bus time-table you can also call 0031 900-9292.In the evening after 18.30 hours you can take tation bus 101 or 102from Amersfoort railway s. On the border of Amersfoort you have bus stop ‘chauffeurs cafe the 2e steeg’ (truckers pub), ask the bus driver. There is a turn off to Achterveld. It is one road of 6 km, try to hitch-hike . In the centre of Achterveld village you will pass a church on your left. After the church you will take the first road on your right (with a cafetaria on the corner). This is the Schoonderbekerweg, after 600 mt. you will see number 13.
You can rent a bike at Amersfoort station: 0031 33-4614985. There is a € 50,- deposit asked on every bike and you will have to show legal identification. You rent a bike for € 6,- a day or € 27,- a week. Cycling from Amersfoort to our farm takes you fifty minutes.
(navigation: Schoonderbekerweg 13, 3791 NE Achterveld ( when it not works Schoonderbekerweg 3, and than you will drive furher till 13).
- From the A30 (Ede): exit Barneveld Zuid/Scherpenzeel.Trafficlights straight on. Achterveld is direction Barneveld.After 500 mtr left.
- From Motorway A1 (Apeldoorn): exit Barneveld/Ede-A30, exit Barneveld Zuid/Scherpenzeel, turn first right on the roundabout: direction Scherpenzeel, take the right at the next roundabout direction Achterveld.
- From Motorway A1 (Amsterdam): exit Hoevelaken, direction Achterveld.
- From Motorway A28 (Zwolle): after junction Hoevelaken, exit Amersfoort, direction Hoevelaken, direction Achterveld.
- From Motorway A28 (Utrecht): exit Leusden, direction Achterveld.
If you enter Achterveld via Stoutenburg way (streetname:Hessenweg): drive up to the church on your left in the centre of Achterveld, pass ‘Huize St-Joseph’ (the old people’s home)on your right, take the first on your right. This is Schoonderbekerweg (cafeteria at the corner). After 600 metres you will see our farm with thatched roof on your left.
If you enter Achterveld coming from Barneveld (streetname:Hessenweg): the moment you enter Achterveld take the first street on your left. This is Schoonderbekerweg, (it has a cafeteria at the corner). After 600 metres you will see our farm with thatched roof on your left.
Park your car straight along the side of the farm with the five windows. If necessary, you can also park along the farm’s drive-way.
Schoonderbeek Farm is situated in ‘De Glind’, a small, friendly village in the heart of the ‘Gelderse Vallei’ the valley between Amersfoort and Barneveld – the area right in the middle of The Netherlands. Centuries ago, the area was known to be part and parcel of Schoonderbeek Castle. In 1521, the castle was destroyed, but the area remained known as ‘Schoonderbeek’. When the French introduced the system of surnames in The Netherlands in the late 17th century, the families living off the land around the castle, received the surname ‘Schoonderbeek’, as did the ancestors of the present ‘Schoonderbeek Farm’. Jacob Hendrixen Schoonderbeek (1635 – 1705) is the first man known to carry the Schoonderbeek surname
Jan Pieter Adholf Foundation
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Count Jan Pieter Adholf van Limburg Stierum was very aware of the poor social conditions that existed at that time. This point of view was still very exceptional for a member of the landed gentry. Partly because of his Protestant faith and partly because of his own social and financial position, he founded and funded the Foundation Jan Pieter Adholf. The Foundation bought Schoonderbeek Estate in 1912. It held 240 acres and had two old working farms with live-stock (horses and cows). The Foundation sought to give shelter to the homeless, alcoholics and ex-convicts, which was pretty unusual. In exchange for labour on the land, people were housed, fed and clothed. The Foundation had three new buildings built on the estate. Its first director was J. Wilbrink (in 1915) to be succeeded by E. van den Brink (in 1917), who rebuilt and perfected the estate. In 1930, J. van den Brink was appointed the Foundation’s last director.
The estate and its buildings are located on Schoonderbekerweg. Number 2 was an existing old farm and was not part of the Foundation. At the time of Hook and Kipper Riots, it is said that Jan van Schaffelaar, an officer in the Bishop of Utrecht’s army, lodged here in 1482, before he jumped off Barneveld Church Tower as a deed of loyalty: he offered his life, so that his men could be spared. His statue can be found in Barneveld. Number 7 was the Main Building. From our farmhouse we look onto it still. The Main House consisted of a dormitory, common room, kitchen and cow-shed. Number 11 was the Mansion the director inhabited: it is grand in style. Local people still call it ‘the castle’. It has a two-way view, perfect to watch what’s happening on the estate. Number 13 is our present farmhouse. In the old days it used to be foodstorage and horse-stable for the estate’s cattle and livestock.
At the end of the 1920’s, the Foundation’s financial situation was bad, because of the omnipresent economic crisis. The Board decided to sell in 1931. The sale was scheduled on May 19th 1931. The following day, a large sum of money was made available to the Foundation, which could have saved the estate. Bizar and sad as it was, legally the sale could not become undone. The estate and its four buildings were sold for fl. 134,900 (equals 45,000 pounds). The old farm on number 2 was bought by the Hilhorst family. The Main Building on number 7 went to the Boersen family. The Mansion and the farm, numbers 11 and 13, went to the Kohlmann family. Several small chunks of the estate were sold off to families that farmed on a smaller scale – Schoonderbekerweg 15, 17 and 19.
The old shed and now our farm on number 13, became the dwelling place of the gardener Doris van Laar, in 1931. He was employed by the Kohlmann family. In 1946, shortly after the Second World War, a son of the family bought the shed and converted part of it into a new stable and the old dilapidated stables into the farmhouse that still exists today. In 1965 Schoonderbeek Farm was bought by Willem Kok. His son, Gerard, took over in 1979. As far as farming was concerned, Gerard took the leap in 1991: he changed from traditional farming into biological and ecological farming, which meant farming on a much smaller scale. And in 2007 he changed from ecological farming to organic dynamic farming. Now Gerard’s son and his wife Rosa run the farm.