Pack your bags and slip into your overalls — we’re headed to the farm!

Between now and Eurovision 2020 in Rotterdam, Wiwibloggs is touring the country to collect travel tips and tricks for Eurofans. It’s all to help you assess potential excursions and daytrips away from Rotterdam, so you can discover more of the country during the song contest. Our first stop? Boerderij Farm & Recreation in the beautiful province of Friesland. Here’s what went down…

Cow cuddling in Friesland

As a child riding in the car with my aunt and uncle, I’d always point to pastures and say, “Mooooo Cow.” It was sort of a rite-of-passage for us kids in rural communities and the giggles would fill the silence as we drove from place to place, past one pasture after another.

Fast forward a few decades and that distance — me to window to road to cow — remained the closest I’d ever been to our bovine friends. So it was with a mix of excitement and just a bit of fear that I approached the news we’d be going cow hugging, an experience that would ultimately prove life-changing.

The drive from the Frisian capital Leeuwarden to Boderij Farm was scenic and peaceful. The Dutch landscape is incredibly flat, offering vistas of trees, windmills and endless grass for miles. Our arrival at the farm felt like a homecoming. We parked, surrounded by a sea of green and and blue, and were quickly greeted by our hosts.

Within seconds, the most adorable black and white kitten came bounding towards us. I picked him up and he began to purr. He was followed by a sleek black, white and caramel girl, also excited meet us. She jumped into my arms and did not want to be put down. My heart was already melting. The connection between man and animal was already real.

Geeske Holtrop — the matriarch of the farm and queen of its cows — joined us and walked us into a public dining area where she educated us on the history of her family’s farm, which dates back to 1753. We indulged in the King’s cake — sweet, soft, frosted and delicious — and washed it down with some tea and coffee.

Full of sugar and caffeine, it was time to prepare for our main activity: hugging the cows. That involved first learning the proper technique for greeting our very large four-legged friends.

We were provided with adorable overalls — I think y’all Europeans call them dungarees? It was to make sure that we smelled like the farm, so that the cows would feel comfortable with us. We also slipped into Wellies to avoid getting soggy feet in the event of rain. (It can go from sunny to wet in a matter of seconds in The Netherlands). And, perhaps more importantly, to avoid any spillage from the cows who, let’s face it, defecate rather frequently!

And then we saw them: More than 200 cows eating, laying, grazing and generally hanging out. They’re all milk cows — aka, females who provide milk — and no bulls live on the farm. It’s so that the women can live in peace without the constant tension that comes with horny bulls running about.

I greeted my first new friend by stroking her from behind and then on the side before sitting with her and enjoying a bit of girl time. She was so sweet — something that came through her large, intelligent eyes with beautiful, long eye lashes. As I sat up against my beautiful big boned girlfriend (I had no idea how large cows are!), I could feel our hearts beating in sync. I asked her for a kiss and she turned her nose towards me and nudged my chin. Kissed by a cow who will forever remain in my heart. As I thanked her and prepared for the last step in cow cuddling (laying on her back), she let me know that she was not ready for me to leave by standing and showing me how forcefully cows excrete. What’s the name of that Eurovision song from Georgia in 2013? Waterfaaaaaall!

The meet and greet and cuddling continued. I was overwhelmed by these creatures and the pure love in their hearts.

A part of me was hesitant to venture to the farm. Animals deserve to be treated with respect and they certainly aren’t play things. But I learned very quickly about the great care and love the family Holtrop gives to their cows. They almost seem like an extension of their own family. Geeske — her names means Grace in English — knows the personalities and names of her cows. And it was very clear they were familiar with — and indeed fond of — her.

I learned that all cows are queens. Their anatomy even includes a crown. It’s a fitting attribute for these beautiful creatures.

I have not eaten beef since my visit to the farm.

This trip was sponsored by NBTC Holland Marketing, but all opinions are ours alone. We’ll be traveling throughout the Netherlands between now and Eurovision 2020 to give you travel ideas for your trip to ESC. Shout-out to wiwibloggs video editor Oranie. Merci, madame!

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Video on our visit to @boerderijrecreatie up! • We sure do love our new #cow friends!? • And, we know that all of our @wiwibloggs #Eurovision #family will, too! On the #RoadToRotterdam – this is a must-do! Add this to your agenda NOW! • @williamleeadams & I stopped eating beef after making these new friends. One can’t eat a “friend of a friend.” • Video at: https://youtu.be/dA9SINN5s4A • Thank you again, @visit_holland! • #cows #farm #farmlife #dairycow #dairyfarm #rotterdam #eurovisionsongcontest #eurovision2020 #esc #esc2020 #green #visitholland #holland #thenetherlands #netherlands #nederlands #hapa #brother #sister #brotherandsister #allcowsarequeen #drinkmoremilk #eatlessbeef

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Fer
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Fer

It really makes me happy you guys are venturing beyond the major cities in the west such as Rotterdam and Amsterdam and show the world the peripheral provinces that tend not to get attention. Very happy to see my home province show up, thank you so much! Very excited to see where else you’ll be showing up! Sad to have missed spotting you guys in Groningen!

pepe
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pepe

These cows are the lucky ones. Unfortunately there are lots of cows in the Netherlands that never see the light of day and are inside barns the entire year. The number of cattle in the Netherlands is far too high anyway.

keith mawson
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keith mawson

Orveldt in the far north west of holland was an amazing place to vsiist huge farm park where they had animals , Pony and traps. Cheese and Clog Making. Drenthe area I think it was.

Nikki
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Nikki

Why you didn’t post that photo Insta flagged you? That was cute and fun. I’m more a sheep girl, I’m a knitter after all, but I’d love to meet the girls at that farm.

Africavision
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Africavision

Suzanne: “He was followed by a sleek black, white and caramel girl, also excited (to) meet us.” Me: “Damn, The Netherlands sure is multi-racial, and I thought South Africa was the rainbow nation!” Suzanne: “She jumped into my arms and did not want to be put down. My heart was already melting.” Me: “Woah slow down, Tiger. That’s not very lady-like behavior!” Suzanne: “The connection between man and animal was already real.” Me: *confused, and scrolls further down to the picture* “Oh wait, “she” is actually a cat!” Lol jokes aside, this was such a lovely article, Suzanne. It’s like… Read more »

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

i absolutely adore bovines, they’re amazing animals and of course i don’t eat beef. the video was so cute and relaxing <3

blue pink
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blue pink

Do you wear leather? It’s a vicious circle, no animal is raised just for wool/leather/meat/milk/eggs. Nobody just takes the wool and waits for the sheep to die from natural causes. This is why the whole vicious circle needs to stop. Be vegan. And even if that animal was well treated, would you eat your dog just because it had a good life?

Nikki
Guest
Nikki

Guy, yarn crafter here. Stop that crap about wool. Wool farm sheeps, alpacas and angora rabbits are well cared, respectfully treated and loved, and I can give you more than one instagram account you can see it by yourself.

Ps: I’m vegetarian tooo

pepe
Guest
pepe

Angora rabbits are definitely not cared for. Not a pleasant video, but sometimes the truth has to be heard.
https://youtu.be/PtAFHyXS31M

blue pink
Guest
blue pink

You can find a lot of materials for crafting, unlimited options, why do you need something that comes from a living animal? Because “it breathes” and you don’t sweat or something? Please, this is just being a snob.

poe-tay-toe-chips
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poe-tay-toe-chips

“Fake leather”.

You mean plastic?

Plastic is less eco friendly than real leather.

rub some brain cells together

kuno
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kuno

Recycle. You don’t have to give your shoes to a whale to kill it.
Cattles are less eco-friendly. Years of eating veggies, just to provide food for a family’s Christmas dinner.