The Holland Walk is best described as a modern-day non-religious pilgrimage combining walking, camping, Geocaching and Couchsurfing into an inspirational 7 to 14-day walk passing several gems of the Dutch landscape and culture. The walk is an initiative of Victor Eekhof, who has previously traveled from the North Pole to the South Pole raising € 1000 for the World Wildlife Foundation. As part of this trip he walked from Seattle to Vancouver in 7 days without preperation, covering 250 kilometers and raising awareness for his cause. You can find a diary and photo gallery on this site.
Like many other pilgrimages, this isn’t an organized walk. I will give you the tools and guidelines to do this walk in 7 to 14 days according to a fixed route copied to a GPS device or smartphone. You can start at any time and can walk alone or in a group, at any pace. I have done this trip myself too, so I will give you some insights and tips on how I’ve done it.
I will give you the tools and information to create your own adventure
It might be a little read here and there, but I’ve tried to keep it as short and readable as possible, focusing on the essentials rather than writing enjoyable anecdotes.
If by now you haven’t figured out that this isn’t an organized walk starting at a specific time with a specific group of participants, this is the moment to realize this. You will have to plan this trip yourself. People are naturally lazy, I know, but I’ve learnt that the best ideas, thoughts and experiences come from a place outside of your comfort zone. I’m here to make it as easy as possible for you to get there.
The Holland Walk is meant as a turn-key adventure for you, of which you can follow the basic structure.
Heck, you don’t even have to walk. Cycling these routes is perfectly possible.
When to go
You can do this trip all year round. Just schedule a week or two during your visit to Holland. If you’re living or working in Holland, take a week or two off, depending on the route. It’s worth it. You might need to pack a bit more clothes in the winter and it might be a bit harder finding geocaches under a layer of snow. The perfect time for this walk would be late spring until late summer (usually May till September, although the weather in Holland is hard to predict). Be sure to check the weather predictions beforehand.
What to bring
There isn’t a lot that you will have to bring, since you’ll be on the road for only 7 to 14 days. A regular 15-30 liter backpack will do just fine. A tent might be a bit heavy and bulgy to walk with, though it’s sometimes possible to strap it onto a backpack. It’s easier however to strap a tent onto the carrier of a bicycle. Read more
What to see
The Netherlands is full of hidden gems. Since the country is as flat as a penny, you’ll have a nice view on the horizon where-ever you go. On your route you will pass beautiful landscapes, cute villages, long stretches of water-obstructing dikes, impressive architectonical structures and see some of the old Dutch culture and tradition. Read more
Where to stay
When it comes to staying for a night you have several options. If you bring a tent you can camp at a campsite, there are several on your route. If you plan a little ahead, you can find yourself a couchsurfer to stay at for every day that you are on the road. I prefer the latter since it brings several benefits (and a bit more comfort). Of course you’ll find a lot of hotels and B&Bs on the road too, if all else fails. Read more
What to do
There are several things to do during or after a day of walking. Listening to music, audiobooks or finding geocaches are great ways to counter boredom when you’re walking alone. Depending on where you stay you might get tips on activities nearby, or you’ll even get introduced to your couchsurf host’s friends in a bar while drinking a beer together. Read more
Bragging: the pay-off
Holy crap, you’ve just walked 145 or even 285 kilometers! Be sure to brag to your friends, at a party or bar, and/or on Facebook. If my calculations were right, you have learnt at least a thing or two about yourself. Be sure to take loads of pictures; memories are worth more than wealth when you get older. Maybe this even opens your horizon to do more things deemed crazy in the future! Imagine: skydiving, bungee jumping, traveling around the world, all things that have a great pay-off for getting out of your comfort zone. I truly hope your walk surpasses your expectations and helps you in any way getting forward in life. I hope it brings things to your attention that you wouldn’t have had the chance to experience before. Carpe Diem!