The Biesbosch. One of the largest, and certainly one of the most beautiful National Parks in the Netherlands. It’s next to Dordrecht, so neatly in betwee Rotterdam, Den Bosch, Breda and Utrecht. A beautiful spot within reach for everyone living in or visiting the Netherlands, and very suitable for a microadventure. The osier workers hut they put in the Biesbosch is an official “pole camping”: a small site without facilities where it’s legal to camp. There are about 40 of those campsites in the Netherlands, but this one is the most beautiful, at the edge of the Biesbosch.
An osier workers hut is a hut where osier workers used to sleep. Osier workers were around about 150 years ago and made a living out of cutting sedges (a kind of willow branches), which were used to create hoops to go around barrels. The Biesbosch was a great forrest of sedges (“Biesbosch” translates to “Forrest of Sedges”), which explains for the fact that a lot of osier workers were active in the Biesbosch. The problem was the soil: it was practically a swamp out there, almost impossible to walk through. Especially with 19th-century footwear, conditions were pretty bad. And because the Biesbosch was a hard place to penetrate, the workers didn’t go home at the end of the day, they stayed for the week and only returned to their families on Friday. They would sleep in a hut, together: an osier workers hut.
A replica of such a hut was build in June 2008, at the edge of the Biesbosch. There are five bedframes and a table in there, all bolted to the floor. You can – if you bring your own sleeping bag – spend the night there for free. It’s probably a hugely popular spot in summer, but we went there in the middle of winter. It was freezing cold that night, but the sun was shining when we woke up, making this a beautiful place to be. We felt like osier workers ourselves because it was vert marshy and we had to work hard to keep ourselves warm (protip: campfires and gluhwein). Someone left an aluminium rescue blanket behind; the kind you see around people at running competitions that overestimated their own capabilities just a little too much. That really helped against the freezing cold. In the army they thought us to “make a cold man a gold man”, so we also knew on what side it should be worn. We were also very happy with the roof over our head. Sleeping in the mud would have been a disaster.
Everything was wet, even the wood. But we still needed fire to cook our dinner, so we had to split the wood to reach the dry inside of the timber. Every normal person uses an axe for that, but bringing an axe would be just a little too survivally for us, so far (we changed our minds). My knife was sacrificed, unfortunately, and it didn’t survive this adventure. So if you have any tips for a good new survival knife, please leave a comment below!
Just being in a certain location, waiting to be able to go home again isn’t fun at all. So what we do, is try out new stuff. New skills, recipes, life hacks, et cetera. We get them from social media like facebook and pinterest, television (does that stuff Bear Grylls does actually work in real life?), or we get tips from you guys (our favorite option). This time, we tried out some new recipes.
Dinner was dried pasta. The video above shows some shots of how we prepared that over a fire, but the interesting part is in the way we prepared it. That recipe is on this site too!
For breakfast, we made some very healthy and nourishing scrambled eggs, packed in a special way. The recipe is on the site, but here is the summary: five eggs, a tomato, an onion, garlic, some milk and a putload of spinach in a blender; pour that in a soda bottle, keep it in the fridge and pour in a pan when you are ready to eat. Delicious, healthy and nourishing!
We weren’t hungry anymore at all, but we brought a ton of food to test, so we simply had to keep eating it and see if it would be successful trailfood. So the chili had to go down as well. With a food dehydrator, you can bring a meal down to about 150 grams per person, and then rehydrate it up to a complete meal. Dried chili works very well with that.
Camping in the Biesbosch
The location is beautiful. We will definitely go back someday, but then preferably in summer. Are you looking for a great spot for winter camping, microadventure or an outdoor adventure? This osier workers hut deserves some serious consideration. A roof to sleep under, a table outside and a fire pit for your convenience.
Do you have any great trips planned? Know some locations we should definitely check out? Leave a comment below! Also, please consider liking and/or sharing this post if you enjoyed reading it.