MAY 2021

At the end of my maternity leave we went on a two week trip through The Netherlands in our almost finished van. We started at one of the most popular campsites of The Netherlands: De Lakens in Bloemendaal. This campsite is beautifully located in the sand dunes within walking distance of the sea. This campsite has a lot of amenities and was perfect for our first nights. In this blogpost you will read about our experience at The Lakens and how we experienced traveling with a baby in a van.

De Lakens

We booked a dune spot for six nights at De Lakens. As we were traveling in the off season we had an entire corner of the campsite to ourselves during the weekdays. In the weekend it was quite busy, but you still had sufficient privacy. Our spot was spacious and included a picknick table, but I think that might be because we were traveling during the off season as I also saw many smaller spots. De Lakens is one of the more popular campsites in The Netherlands due to its beautiful location in the dunes and proximity to National Park Zuid-Kennemerland. At De Lakens you won’t find grassy spots divided by green hedges, but you will feel like you are camping in nature, waking up to dune views and being able to watch the sunset from your campervan. Birds and bunnies often come say hello at your spot. De Lakens is very kid friendly, offering several playing gardens and a separate changing/washing room which comes in handy when you are traveling with little kids. Due to COVID regulations the restaurant wasn’t open when we visited, but they did offer take out. We had a delicious pizza one night and a veggie burger the other night. The menu of restaurant Gestrand is very modern, offering a good variation of healthy meals, cheat meals and veggie options. It is a shame we couldn’t use the terrace, because it looked very cozy. Normally you can also freely use the sauna facilities, but these were unfortunately closed due to COVID. We paid almost € 40 per night, which is expensive, but we loved the facilities and location of the campsite. It probably is one of the prettiest campings in The Netherlands and I am sure we will be disappointed by other campsites.

Watching the sunset from our van
This is a picture taken during the weekend, when it was quite busy
Sunset at De Lakens
Sunset from our van during weekdays
Wellness van where you could book massages
Atmospheric restaurant Gestrand
One of the playgrounds
Even the building of the reception was fully in style
The supermarket was located on the campsite, super handy and fresh bread everyday
One of the luxury cabins you can also book at De Lakens
This looks super fun for a next time
Loved the design of this one
During summertime you can also go on a surf camp at De Lakens
The road to our spot made it pretty easy to get on and off the campsite
There were several of these toilet and shower buildings, we never had to wait
They were basic, clean and well functioning

The location of De Lakens

De Lakens is located in Overveen (municipality Bloemendaal). From your camping spot at the dune you can be at the beach with a short walk. You can take a little sandy path through the dunes which will bring you to Beachclub Parnassia aan Zee, which looked lovely. This was quite a hassle with a stroller as you will see on our pictures below, but definitely a fun walk!

When you walk in the other direction of the beach you will shortly find the entrance to National Park Zuid-Kennemerland. This is a protected dune area where you can spot the enormous wisenten (which we didn’t do as we visited with a stroller). We did climb some dunes and loved the views!

Can you spot me?

As De Lakens is located in Bloemendaal you can find lots and lots of activities nearby. One of my next blogs will be about things to do in this area!

First nights in the van

We never expected our first nights to be in the Netherlands. We traveled in April when it was still pretty cold outside (between 10-15 degrees most days). During the nights the temperatures often dropped in the direction of 0 degrees so we were very happy that our heating system was fully operating! We were super lucky that we hardly encountered any rain, which helped making our first nights with the van a success!

Our van wasn’t fully furnished yet when we started this little adventure. Besides that we didn’t have time to finish the van properly, this also seemed smart because we would get to experience what we were missing in the van before completing it. I will give a full description of the furniture and appliances in a later blog, once we have finished building.

Little Hugo absolutely loved being in our van. He has a little bunk bed above our feet and he slept really well during this holiday, even though this was his first time sleeping in “a big bed”. We actually found traveling with a baby in a van very easy most of the time. When we were having dinner he often played in our bed and being in such a small space it was very easy keeping an eye on him. When we would travel during the day, he would often sleep while we were driving and we would stop at random places to feed him. Sometimes we would drive to the spots where we wanted to watch the sunset, could over there, and have him sleep during dinner and take him out to watch the sunset later. I also found it very handy that we could bring along a lot of stuff in the “garage”. The only thing that was a bit annoying was having to sterilize his bottles all the time. Back home we do it in a microwave, but in the van we had to boil water in a large pan to be able to do it. But for these things you just have to factor in time and you will be alright.

Hugo loved his bunk bed
Hielke installed a little swing for Hugo…
… which I am sure he will love when he is a bit older

We also had some troubles along the way. It turned out that our boiler was leaking, so Hielke had to remove it during our holiday. After that we didn’t have any hot water anymore… which was mainly annoying when we wanted to do the dishes or bath Huug. He will shortly fix that. We also bathed Hugo in the van once and I made the bath flood, which also is not something I would recommend doing for the longevity of your van…

All in all, we were very happy with the decisions we made for our van. Our solar panels worked so well, we didn’t have to use the campsite’s electricity once. Even on days when there was very little solar activity, our van was fully charged at 10AM. During the night only 15% of our battery was used, to keep the fridge going and to charge our devices.

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