Natural Campsites, which operates from some 140 locations throughout The Netherlands in or close to nature reserves, has revealed that the chief focal points of its 2011 season, which has just opened, will be sustainability and bicycle camping.
Not to be confused with naturist camping – we can’t be the only people to have wondered, since the organisation’s website points out in the FAQ that its sites don’t offer nude recreation – the sites are squarely aimed at “people looking to experience nature and camping for its own sake.”
That means no swimming pools, cafeterias or entertainment reps, and while some sites are tent-only, others do accept camper vans and caravans. All are said to “feature good sanitary facilities,” so luckily the communion with nature doesn’t go the whole way.
Through its focus on bicycle camping in 2011, the foundation that operates the Natural Campsites business hopes “to encourage more people in the Netherlands and abroad to go on cycling holidays, one of the most sustainable travel options around.
It adds that its campsites “have the added benefit of suiting the needs of most people going on bicycle holidays. In addition to being located in beautiful biking areas, the sites are quiet at night, and transients are almost always guaranteed a space up to 7 p.m. This adventurous form of camping suits cyclists' active lifestyles.
“Throughout the year, cyclists will be involved in the Natural Campsites in a variety of ways, and vice versa. The Natural Campsites will become even more bicycle-friendly, providing campers with amenities such as bicycle pumps, tyre repair kits, and charging stations for e-bikes.”
It adds that thanks to a collaboration with the Dutch National Cycling Platform, “cyclists can easily plan a route between the Natural Campsites across one of the long-distance routes in the Netherlands.” More information on those routes is available on the English-language version of the Fietsplatform website.
To gain access to Natural Campsites, campers must have a natural camping pass, known as a Natuurkampeerkaart. That is included in the Dutch-language Het Groene Boekje, which lists all the locations, while full details are also available in English on the Natural Campsites website.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.