At the campsite during the Fiets en Wandelbeurs – report


Last February we were again at the annual cycling and walking fair in Utrecht. On a special pilgrim square, sponsored by the organization. A report by Manja, co-coordinator of our route.

Cycling and walking fair
Photo: Bicycle and walking fair by Stephan de Goede

I think we were at the cycling and walking fair in Utrecht for the first time in 2016. We didn’t know what it meant to be at such a big fair. We were a bit overwhelmed by the huge hall and the thousands of people. We had paid a lot for a pitch. Fortunately, we were informed that this was actually not necessary at all…

The special thing about this fair is that the organization sponsors a special ‘pilgrim square’. Initiatives like ours can get a free spot here and even free coffee and tea. In this way, the organization wants to attract all kinds of visitors to the fair and not just commercial exhibitors. A twinkle to the hiker and pilgrim. I think we succeeded. A good example of how you open a door by donating something and something beautiful is created.

Cycling and walking fair

The coordination of the pilgrim square is in the hands of the Jacobs Genootschap. One of their volunteers – Wobien Doyer – is the ‘mother of the square’. For years, she has been taking care of all the arrangements around the pitches, decoration, access bracelets, volunteers for coffee and tea, etc. This year, unfortunately, for the last time. She deserves a ribbon for all her efforts!

From Japan to Friesland

There are all kinds of participants on the pilgrim square, from the Jacobspaad in Friesland to the 88 Shikoku temple pilgrimage in Japan. The stands are manned by volunteers who are so enthusiastic about them that they want to provide information about these special tours. Others, like us, have developed their own pilgrimage and want to inspire visitors with it.


I always find it very special what comes along at your table. Often also pilgrims who have already walked our journey and come to tell us enthusiastically. This time there was someone who proudly showed off her tattoo: across her forearm. With the contours of our symbol Pilgrim and underneath the Walk of Walk of Wisdom in graceful letters. She is not the first to have a tattoo of our symbol, but it did move me that the route had made such an impression on her. She now carries the symbol on her arm for good!


We have been coming to this fair for 8 years now. It makes me feel like we’re going to a campsite. Everyone brings their suitcase with some stuff, clears the table and goes around to greet everyone again. Someone said it’s like a family and maybe it is. People who want to do something good and give meaning.

Thank you to everyone who thought it was worthwhile to stop by our stall, tell their stories and show interest in our route!

And of course, Thank you Wobien Doyer for all your good care!

More about the Fiets en Wandelbeurs

The theme of this year’s Bicycle and Walking Fair was Poland. Click here for more information about the Fiets en Wandelbeurs.

Click here for more information about our symbol Pilgrim, by the artist duo Huub and Adelheid Kortekaas: “every human being is a unique seedling of Mother Earth.”