When we lived in the Netherlands, Lara and I regularly visited the children’s farm. Good weather or not, it is always fun to visit the animals. Especially lara thinks so. Fortunately, we can continue our visits at those places in London, for example at Deen City Farm, which I wrote about earlier. Last week we were back in the Netherlands for a couple of days and of course it’s also nice to plan activities for the little one. The better it is when we can give it a Dutch accent since we now live in England. We decided to visit the children’s farm De Kooi in Rotterdam, which also houses a cheese and clog workplace. Nice souvenirs to take with us back to London.
The Kooi is located at a short distance from the center of Rotterdam and exists since 1970. The farm is part of the Sport and Culture department of the Municipality of Rotterdam. On the farm you will find different animals like cows, ponies, goats, sheep and pigs, but also chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks and peacocks. In addition to a visit to the animals, extra activities take place regularly. For example, children can help with feeding and caring for the animals every day after school and in the weekends. And, if they want to, they can even earn a ‘farm help’ certificate.
The farm is a place where children can learn a lot about nature and environment. In the Center for Nature and Environment Education in the yard, local schools are taught at groups 1 to 8 of primary education. These lessons take place not only in the classroom, but also on or around the farm. For example, children can follow a school gardener program for half a year in the educational garden. Here they learn to work with sowing and taking care of vegetables and herbs. At the end of the year they harvest and make a meal together with the products from the garden.
The garden is not only designed for educational purposes for children, local residents are also involved. For example, in another part of the garden, land is leased to seniors where they can grow their own vegetables. The last part of the garden is used for the ‘Buurtmoestuin‘. Volunteers from the neighborhood can work here in the greenhouse and on the garden itself. The fresh products are sold and partly processed into, among other things, jams and soups in the outdoor kitchen. These are available in the canteen of the farm.
It’s a big farm with different stables and around a large piece of land. All animals have their own residence which can easily be reached through the paths. After we have explored the grounds and watched all the animals, we decide to visit the clog workplace. Since 2003, the clog workplace C. Biesbroek is located in the former wagon shed at De Kooi. Two days a week (on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 3.30 p.m.) the clog maker tries to be at work. I think it’s great, the ancient craft that radiates from it. For Lara it was the first meeting with this traditional Dutch phenomenon.
Clogs are wooden shoes that have existed since ancient times and were worn in large parts of Europe during the Middle Ages and long afterwards, mainly by workers and peasants. Clogs are usually made from poplar and willow wood. Traditionally, clogs are mainly painted in a yellow color, sometimes with simple decorations. Nowadays you only see clogs in the Netherlands in the countryside. Many (ornamental) clogs are made for the souvenir industry. Not only of wood, but also of, for example, Delft blue earthenware.
In addition to being able to take a look at the workshop as a visitor, you can also apply yourself a pair of clogs. A wall full of handmade clogs in various colors and sizes is at your disposal. We opted for the traditional version, yellow with red lacquered decoration.
We end the afternoon at the farm with a cup of tea and a sandwich in the nearby canteen. Here you can also find farm products (if available), such as eggs from the chickens, fresh seasonal vegetables from the local vegetable garden, cheese from goat’s milk, home-made jams and sambal and honey from the bees. Happily the cheese is in stock and we decide to take two pieces of them, cumin and matured. Our favorite for the sandwich.
With clogs and cheese in the hand, this has become a true Dutch getaway. Something we have missed since we left to the UK. We take it home with pleasure.
For more information about this fun farm in Rotterdam you can visit the website of The Kooi.