A journey through camping history: Ardoer Camping De Noetselerberg
March, 15 2022
A piece of Dutch camping history: Ardoer camping De Noetselerberg has been operational for more than half a century. The first owner, Jan, receive a camping permit for the farm in 1970. The province was sceptical and felt that Jan would be better off continuing as a farmer. But Jan was always looking for something new, and camping was really starting to take off. The five-star campsite is now being run by the next generation.
Jan and his wife Gré are real gogetters who, quite literally, built part of the campsite with their own hands. From installing the first barrier to constructing the swimming pool and the safari lodges, the family knew how to roll up its sleeves. Jan and Gré had five children, all of whom grew up on the campsite and helped out, from cooking to picking up litter. The thread running through the family is working hard, being a close-knit team, doing things together and being careful with money.
Best decision: the roofed swimming pool
Construction of the indoor swimming pool in 1989 was a defining moment in the history of the campsite – back then, it was the only indoor swimming pool in the area. Many advised against it, but the owners pressed on regardless. If they hadn’t had the courage to do so, the campsite would never have grown to become such a professional business.
The swimming pool is still there, and has since been expanded and renovated. The youngest sons, Bert-Jan and Geert, took over the business in 1999. Bert-Jan is committed to hospitality and runs the bistro, which is extremely popular with guests and locals alike. Geert is more technically minded and takes care of much of the maintenance.
Innovation is in the family’s DNA and they like to move with the times. Administration and reservations are increasingly automated and business operations have been made more professional –
this is all about moving with the times, since guests’ expectations are higher. Through collaboration with the Ardoer chain, the campsite is able to benefit from a wealth of knowledge and experience. The next step is greater sustainability, and the campsite has already fitted solar panels to the roof of the swimming pool.
What will not change is the personal, family-like approach to campsite guests. Jan even used to attend the weddings and funerals of regular guests. The camping guests are always warmly welcomed.
Many fond memories
After 50 years, there are many great stories to be told. The campsite has, for example, been able to offer many local youngsters a holiday job. The campsite has also been home to many a budding
relationship and there have even be a few ‘campsite babies’. There are also fond memories of exciting ‘droppings’ from the past, a typical Dutch scouting tradition where people are deposited in a typically forested and have to find their way back. These could often be as many as four or five hours long, through the night.
Even more camping history
In the coming weeks, we’ll continue to take you on our journey through Europe’s camping history. What are your best and first camping memories? Let us know in the comments.