Neighborhood camping is on the rise. This is how you make friends while sleeping in Drenthe and Groningen

Camping within walking distance of your warm bed and getting to know your neighbors better. The Neighborhood Camp is on the rise. In Hoogeveen and Groningen, local residents slept in a park in their own neighborhood this weekend.

Improvising in Hoogeveen. The approximately fifty campers at petting zoo De Beestenbult have already had a few outrageous downpours on Saturday at the beginning of the afternoon.

Program is over

Because the weather promises little improvement in the coming hours, campsite manager Lisette Rinkema and her team intervene. Saturday’s outdoor activity is cancelled, the activities that were scheduled for Sunday will go to Saturday afternoon. There is no more sleeping at the campsite on Saturday night.

A great pity, says Rinkema. ,,But what good is it if people wake up here in the rain on Sunday morning.” Especially a pity, she adds, because the Hoogeveense Buurtcamping had a flaming debut on Friday evening. “We had beautiful weather and in the evening a nice campfire, only happy faces.”

Sixty neighborhood campsites in the Netherlands

The Buurtcamping is on an unstoppable advance. Intended to strengthen or strengthen mutual ties in a neighborhood, local residents can camp for a weekend in a park or sports field in the neighborhood for a small amount of money.

The first Buurtcamping was held in 2013 in Amsterdam’s Oosterpark. Ten years later, there are about 60 neighborhood campsites in the Netherlands. When Rinkema heard about the phenomenon last year, she immediately knew: there had to be a neighborhood campsite in Hoogeveen.

In addition to a camping site, the initiative needs volunteers, a subsidy can be arranged and quite a few sponsors are also useful. Many camping guests don’t have a sleeping bag or air mattress, let alone a tent. The Buurtcamping tries to provide it.

Fourth time in Groningen

But then the party can also begin. Also in Groningen. On Saturday morning, Marjolein Blankenstein sits there in front of her tent at the Buurtcamping in Lewenborg, deeply satisfied. She won’t write a letter home about her first night at the campsite.

But early Saturday morning she can move to another tent. Life is good there. ,,It’s so much fun here”, she says, looking ahead to Saturday night. “The Dark Night.”

Ingrid Blink has been involved with the Buurtcamping in Groningen from the very beginning. It will be there for the fourth time this summer. That could have been six if corona had not thrown a spanner in the works.

All ages

While the children laugh at mascot Louie and youth circus Santelli teaching the camping guests circus skills, Blink says that increasing social solidarity in the neighborhood is her main motivation. “And of course the fun people have and the fun we have with each other.”

About 100 people sleep at the campsite in Groningen. It is certainly not the case that only children are guests. ,,The age on the campsite varies from 2 to 68”, says a volunteer. And the growth is there. “Last year we had to have air mattresses pulled up at the last minute. This year it was the same, but with sleeping bags.”

Silent disco and bingo

In Hoogeveen, camping guests completely exploit the advantage of camping in their own neighbourhood. They quickly go up and down home to put on dry clothes. After that life goes on with a bingo and silent disco.

Shelter because it starts to rain carefully again. ,,During the preparation, we thought that we should tell guests to take measures against the heat. Now we said on Thursday bring a raincoat and boots.”

Rinkema says it with a smile, because she knows: the Buurtcamping in Hoogeveen has proven itself. It will be repeated in 2024. “We have already seen friendships develop here.”