Get to know… Elizabeth Braam

Elizabeth Braam en familie

Living and working in the Orchard and on the Waterfront in Drenthe

If you are a member of a family with more than 700 family members, it pays off for them to know about your activities. Because if nobody knows what you do, they can’t choose to spend their holidays with you. And that is a great pity! Because Elizabeth offers a holiday opportunity that could interest a lot of family members. For this reason, I would like to introduce you to Elizabeth.

How old are you, where do you live and with whom?
I am 53 years old and live in Ruinen with my husband Joris and our 14-year-old daughter Pien. We moved to Drenthe from our small appartment in Amsterdam almost fifteen years ago. We exchanged the busy life of the city for an old farmhouse on a large property with peace and quiet, space and lots of nature.

Joris and you made the film about 250 years Hurgronje Family Fund. Tell us about that please.
In making that film, we built up nice contacts with, among others, the administrators of that time, which made us feel even more involved. We have been in contact with a number of them ever since. Edzard Gelderman once spent a week with us in the holiday cottage and Titia and her husband Arie have camped with their caravan in our orchard by the water several times.
Digna and her husband Ernst have also stayed with us for a weekend once.

During the making of the film we also talked to Matthijs Snouck Hurgronje about the manuscript of Isaac and Paul Hurgronje’s journey. Fascinated by the story, in the summer of 2018, with the travel report of the Reislustige Zeeuwse regenten in our hands, we re-travelled part of that 1769 journey to England. It is still on our wish list to someday complete this journey. Family members who would like to know more about our adventures during this trip, or perhaps want to make the journey themselves, are welcome to contact us.

Joris teaches at a secondary school in Meppel. He supports the project education at VWO+, and gives film lessons to vmbo-students. In addition, he regularly makes (promotional) films for the school. Recently, for example, he filmed the visit of Adriaan van Dis to his school.

He enjoys filming (it is, after all, his job) and is very good at interviewing people. For example, a few years ago he interviewed my parents about their lives. Together with the interviews of their children and grandchildren, he made this into a very valuable document. And he also filmed his ex-mother-in-law talking about her life. She is now 93 and feels it is important that after her death her children and grandchildren can still hear and see ” straight from her ” what she experienced in her life. If there are family members who would also like to have such a document, they can contact us. In this way you will get “the film of your life”.

How long have you been a member of the Family Fund?
Since I was 21. At the time I also joined the Jonge Honden a few times. My son Adriaan is now 22 and studies in Delft. He has just become a member of the Family Fund. He is also a member of the student fraternity and has discovered distant cousins who are also members of both. That is really nice and rather special!

What do you do for a living?
On our 2-hectare property, we have a holiday cottage that we rent out all year round. We were able to build it thanks to a loan from the Family Fund. The cottage has its own entrance and overlooks the Ruiner Aa and the nature reserve where brown cows graze in summer.

In addition, we rent out a gypsy wagon which is situated in a beautiful spot by the pond. The gypsy wagon belongs to an artist friend of ours. She once came to stay here and was looking for a nice and quiet place for her wagon. We had that place and the wagon has been here ever since. When she is not here, we can rent it out. In the summer months, the wagon is available for rent for the whole month.

In summer, we also have a furnished bungalow tent in the orchard by the water. As of recently it even has its own swimming pool! The tent is suitable for 4 persons, but it is also possible to place an extra tent. The orchard is a lovely place and only accessible to guests of the bungalow tent. It’s a very relaxing place: make a campfire, have a swim in the Ruiner Aa or just laze about with a view of the fields. It is luxury camping in total peace and quiet.

I mainly take care of everything that has to do with renting out the accommodations. In addition, I also have an administrative job with the government for 2 days a week. Thanks to corona, we can finally work from home, which is easy to combine with the work on site.

And how do you spend your free time?
In the garden! Or horseback riding with Pien or a friend. We have had two ponies since the first lock-down, one that we can ride and an old one for company. I do a lot of things with our daughter and help her with her schoolwork. I also like meeting new people, so renting out here on the site fits in very well with that. Sometimes we stay in touch with the guests, even after they have left, and that is great fun. A number of regular guests come back every year and I have also gained a number of friends.

However, we can’t do everything ourselves, so we have help. Since about 7 years now, Magda (I found her on the bulletin board in the supermarket) has a biodynamic vegetable garden here. She maintains this vegetable garden and we regularly get fruit and vegetables from her. And then there’s Paul, the neighbour, who has come every Thursday morning for years to help with garden chores; the bigger jobs you’d rather not do alone. And Monique, she rented the cottage last year and is now our regular babysitter when we are away for a few days. She also regularly comes to help me with all the chores that need to be done here, from working in the garden to painting, carpentry, cleaning, lawn mowing etc., and she loves horse riding.

What I don’t like as much, and what I’m not very good at either, is promoting my accommodations on a website or Instagram page. That’s why the cottage and the gypsy wagon are on and on airbnb, where the bungalow tent also features: the cottage, the gypsy wagon and the bungalow tent.

How did you get through the corona period?
The corona period was a good time in terms of renting. We offered non-contact accommodation and many people sought refuge here. After all, they could not go abroad on holiday and a hotel was not an option either. So a stay in the beautiful Drenthe was a godsend for many people. A nice break in their own country.

Now that the measures are being lifted, many people are booking holidays abroad. Somewhat understandable, but let us not forget that we here, and certainly in Drenthe, also have a lot to offer! Getting away from it all and recharging your batteries in the beautiful countryside of Drenthe and enjoying the silence can do a person a world of good!

What does your ultimate day of self-care look like?
Going outdoors and working in the garden! Taking a walk with Joris and Pip the dog, riding horseback with Pien or a friend. Add to that a bit of sunshine, nice guests who enjoy their stay with us, and the day is perfect. Unless it’s freezing 10 degrees; in that case I’ll go ice skating 🙂

!!! Special offer for members of the Hurgronje Family Fund !!!

For family members who book an accommodation directly with me, I have a nice offer. You can opt for a 10% discount on the overnight stay OR a delicious free breakfast on the first morning after arrival.
AND we like it when family members join us for dinner one evening (this is obviously not mandatory).
For more information about the possibilities and to make reservations, please call Elizabeth Braam 06-21531216.

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