bruggetje Bergharen door Martine van Vliet

Walk of Wisdom 6 tm 12 September 2021

There I went…..61 years old, my first pilgrimage, a 7 days walking tour, all alone. Would I like it, feel comfortable on vacation with myself like this? Living alone is different from traveling alone. Would my body still be able to and sustain it? What will my path look like?

So this is what my path looked like sometimes.

Ooijpoort Nijmegen door Martine van Vliet
bruggetje Bergharen door Martine van Vliet

My inner path was as diverse as what my eyes saw.

After the first steps, the nervousness subsided: I was on the road! Yes! The wobbly pedestrian bridge to the Waalstranden probably knew how I felt those first meters and adapted. Then a firmer step despite loose sand. Pride, joy….. I left, look at me walking. Every step a little closer to myself. All senses open as I take my steps.

But then, in the course of that day, fatigue sets in, it is hot, the backpack is pinching and heavy, I feel broken, I am dead tired, I have walked too far and too fast, too little rested. Nauseous with fatigue, I force myself to eat something and realize that tomorrow I won’t be able to get out of bed. I feel pathetic, this won’t work this week, disappointment. So many feelings and thoughts.


Of course I could still get out of bed, put on my backpack that I hated yesterday and continued on my way. This day together with a fellow pilgrim.

Stopping not an option? Did I have to prove something? For whom? Let go and walk.

Walking together shifted the focus, we walked quietly, with regular breaks and singing a song and painting a stone. The beginning always takes getting used to… just calmly put one leg in front of the other and ignore the backpack or “embrace it”.

My steps become calmer as my journey progresses through those days. I myself also become more and more calm during this trip. I look around me and enjoy what I see, hear and smell in nature. Meeting fellow pilgrims, host families, people I meet contribute to calming down: so many lovely, nice people and my self-confidence is slowly returning. I’m starting to enjoy…..

Hatertste Vennen door Martine van Vliet

What a beautiful, special trip in every way. Peace, inner peace is what it brought me, what I feel… that is quite new to me. Me, someone who is always on the move and so busy according to my environment. Now that repeating movement brings Calm. I enjoy, enjoy everything and myself as a fellow traveller.

New insights and thoughts are noted and are still trickling in.

Contentment, with my life, with myself is another feeling that is strongly present: to make you happy

Two weeks later I still miss the rhythm of walking on every day, being on the road. I even miss the heavy backpack on my shoulders.

I have completed my first pilgrimage, so happy and grateful that my body was still able to do it and so happy that I now know how to find real peace if I may fall into old habits. I write “first”, because you can count on me going on several hikes alone to experience that contented and peaceful experience so that it becomes one’s own, and also to meet new people.

Not yet the finish line please…..linger on a bit…!”

Martine van Vliet,

De Rijp, 25 september 2021

Nadia Zerouali
Nadia Zerouali
foto: facebookpagina Nadia Zerouali

The well-known TV chef Nadia Zerouali is going on a Walk of Wisdom pilgrimage in the spring and will contribute to our new book On the Road to Wisdom. Nadia has written several cookbooks and in 2016 was one of the initiators of a movement against polarization in society (Ieder1). Nadia has a bicultural background (Moroccan/Dutch) and speaks as we say in Dutch “with her heart on her tongue” (candid and straight). Eating together connects is her message, and according to her the essence of cooking is sharing: preparing food for someone else with love and then eating it together.

We didn’t know Nadia Zerouali until we saw her in the television series about the Walk of Wisdom by Klaas Drupsteen. She walked with him from Beek to Kranenburg and in twenty minutes made us both cry and laugh – what a beautiful and rich combination.

What a nice person – we also thought: we would like to have her in our new book! We sent her an email and she said yes almost immediately. In May she will go for a Walk of Wisdom: she calls it “me-time”. A week retreat after months of hard work.


In our forthcoming Pilgrim’s Book of Hours, On the Road to Wisdom, we gather some of the pilgrims’ individual experiences in a book. We use fragments of pilgrim reports and poems interspersed with art. Especially for the book we invite inspiring people to walk the route and write a contribution. Theater maker Nynke Laverman is participating and now also Nadia Zerouali. More names will come up soon.

Couscous, from cauliflower

We immediately got a book from her: Arabia. When I visited one of our web volunteers, I chose an easy dish for lunch: cauliflower couscous – we have thoroughly enjoyed it. Interesting: in Moroccan cuisine too much is cooked as standard, so there is always food for someone who just drops by. What remains is shared with the neighborhood. Nice! Powerful advice for preparing grain couscous: do not soak, but steam!

Watch the episode with Nadia Zerouali on the tv-series about the Walk of Wisdom.
Nynke Laverman album Plant

We are proud and happy to announce that singer songwriter Nynke Laverman is going on a Walk of Wisdom pilgrimage in spring. We invited her to walk to make a contribution to our new book On the road to Wisdom and she happily accepted the offer.

Nynke Laverman was one of the first we approached for our new book project. Her theater tour Plant beams with spirit for the planet, both wise and sad and proud and loving. A full evocation of feelings about living in the Anthropocene. Her tour Plant is currently postponed because of Corona but will be continued next year. Hear and see!

Our favorite song from Nynke Laverman

Opening Walk of Wisdom by Ger Loeffen copyright

Photo: Ger Loeffen)
The Walk of Wisdom is inspired by a sense of connection with the planet. As a symbol of that connection, we are working on a pilgrimagetrail in all countries of the world. It’s quite a plan!

Airy-fairy? We believe that a sense of interconnectedness is needed to solve the major problems of our time. With almost 8 billion people, no one can lock themselves up in their own region. Everyone is confronted with large-scale climate change, nature destruction, migration and inequality. It is about time we land, says the French philosopher Latour. To no longer see the earth as a background for our actions, but as a base. A habitat.

We like to help with that landing. With a new pilgrimage tradition where connection with the world is central. Feet on the ground and forward.

10.000 times on track for wisdom

Short manual for the modern pilgrim
By Petra van Bloemendaal

Most funds did not believe in our “utopian plan.” We opened our first Walk of Wisdom in 2015 anyway: a pioneer trail of 136 kilometers around Nijmegen. That route received a major regional prize, a series on national television and last August the 10,000th registration as pilgrim. Hooray!

The road ahead? The success emboldens us to internationalize the pioneer trail. It is the most direct way to realize our global ambitions. If international pilgrims become as enthusiastic as the Dutch, there are bound to be a few who ‘see’ a Walk of Wisdom in their own country, then to begin one. Utopian – no – organic thinking.

We also begin work on our second pilgrim book of hours: On the Road to Wisdom. The book will have four chapters – the pilgrim tides – each of which to be released separately as e-book and then together on paper. The first pilgrim tide will appear in June 2022. Theme: the mystery of inspiration. We’ll invite inspiring personalities to walk the pioneer trail to write a contribution. Non celebrities are also included and art and poetry will ‘enlighten’ the texts, just like in our first book Seasons of Life (sold out).

How can you help

We have sufficient resources until June 2022 to work on the internationalization of our pioneer trail and the first chapter of On the Road to Wisdom. For the way after that we need help.

Guard near our first book
The unique edition of our first pilgrim’s tide book Seasons of Life. It contains all the original artworks and there is only one. Every first Saturday after sunrise we read a story from it: welcome! See departure ceremony de pelgrimslauden.

Non financial ways to help:

silent walk Walk of Wisdom
Photo: Marja Hakkoer
  • nominate an inspiring personality that we invite to walk the route and write a for the book.
  • do you live on the route? We need sleeping and dining addresses for our guests.
  • Social media skills? We need your help.
  • English language skills? We need help with translating and editing.

How to materialise an idea: 

  • Donate €10 or more. You will receive the first pilgrim tide as e-book in June 2022 and thus finance the second. Do: link.
  • Donate €50 or more and you will become a veritable angel as far as we are concerned. In addition to the first pilgrim tide (e-book), earthly advantages are a special invitation to the presentation. Do: link.
  • Donate €333 for 3 years as a super sponsor. You get a steel statue of Pilgrim, designed by Huub and Adelheid Kortekaas. These artists are a great source of inspiration for the Walk of Wisdom and designed the symbol as our contemporary guardian angel. Do: link.

Art lover or company?

  • Sponsor the fee of an inspiring guest pilgrim. A way to connect with whom inspires you and an original way for companies to show values ​​and mission. Mail: [email protected].
  • Own a piece of cultural heritage and buy a miniature from our first pilgrimage book Seasons of Life. Limited edition. The proceeds will be divided by Intermedi-Art between the artist and the Walk of Wisdom foundation.
  • Participate in the auction of the unique edition of this first pilgrimage book with all the original artworks. The publication is now in the Stevenskerk (see photo, above, starting price €15,000). The Medieval Books of Hours on which this book is inspired are now worth millions of euros.

short manual for the modern pilgrim

With gladness and contentment we present our short practical guide for the modern pilgrim.

We hope the guide will be of help for pilgrims setting out for a Walk of Wisdom pilgrimage, but you can make a pilgrimage everywhere. The guide is accessible online as a flipbook or download the pdf. Feel free to share the complete document with a link to our website.

Click the blue button to read as online flipbook

Short practical guide for the modern pilgrim

Or download the pdf: link.

The guide was financed with money from winning an award in 2018 of the Gelderland Province.

Copyright: Walk of Wisdom Foundation

Our volunteer starter kit team merrily packed our 5.000th starter kit. Pilgrims come from all over the Netherlands and increasingly Flanders. We did not yet succeed in attracting pilgrims further away, apart from our native Englishman and signposter Stuart, who translated the routeguide, and our two American pilgrims who tested the translation (and approved it).

Who wants to help reaching out further away?

Groenlanden Ooijpolder Walk of Wisdom

Paul Spierings set out for a Walk of Wisdom with his partner Alberthe. He sent us some wonderful pictures of the first half.

Let friendship heal what divide  - Walk of Wisdom berg en dal
Let friendship heal what borders divide- Walk of Wisdom berg en dal
“Let friendship heal what borders divide. Border landmark, Walk of Wisdom, Berg en Dal.

Since recently pilgrims from Belgium can register for the Dutch Walk of Wisdom at the information point of the Compostela society in Mechelen without postage. When they register via the Dutch website, they only have to pay the Dutch postage rate and no longer the more expensive international rate. The Belgian pilgrim colleagues will then send the starter pack!

We are happy with this expansion: we think it is important that the journey is also accessible to people with modest financial means. Thanks to the Flemish Compostela Society, the financial threshold to walk the Walk of Wisdom Netherlands is now a lot lower.

The number of pilgrims from Belgium has been increasing steadily lately. They are exclusively from Flanders, which is probably due to the languages of our starter package: Dutch or English. We hope that a few of the Flemish pilgrims will become enthusiastic about the idea behind the trip. Who knows, someday a Walk of Wisdom Belgium will come from it.

It is our ambition to start a route in three other countries in Europe in the coming years, such as our own Walk of Wisdom around Nijmegen. We cannot do that ourselves: as a volunteer organization we want to stay small and simply lack the local knowledge to do something like that well anywhere else. But we can dream: a round of 125 to 150 kilometers through a beautiful area that has not yet been milked by tourism. In Belgium, preferably a round that crosses the language border as a gesture of fraternization!

Adress info point Mechelen: Frederik de Merodestraat 18, Mechelen. Open on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. More.

Photo border landmark “Let friendship heal what borders divide”. (Laat vriendschap helen wat grenzen delen.) by Gerda (Pilgrim 2460).   Foto grenspaal “Laat vriendschap helen wat grenzen delen”, door Gerda (pelgrim 2460). Meer.

Our Walk of Wisdom won the people’s award in the election of the Gelderland province for quality of landscape. The jury selected us to the top five, but awarded it’s jury prize to a smart city project in Arnhem resurfacing an old river in the inner city. The public voted Walk of Wisdom as no. 1 with 336 votes, a clear sign of approval from followers.  

Pioneer Damiaan Messing: “We see this as a big thumbs up from pilgrims who walked our trail and took the rather tedious and elaborate effort to vote for us. We promise to invest the €10.000,- in the further development of a meaningful, ecological sensitive rite to inspire those who walk the talk of self realization and sustainability.”

Walk of Wisdom: ” a pearl “

From the press release of the province of Gelderland: “Out of 1712 votes for 15 projects the Walk of Wisdom came out strongest. The stunning diversity of landscapes around Nijmegen as mirror to the soul. With on the road a symbol as compass telling us man is not separate from nature, but part of it. ‘A pilgrimage to reconnect with life, nature and our surroundings: a pearl’ – one of the voters motivated.”

We can but blush… Thank you to all our supporters!

The prize was awarded by one the board members of the province Josan Meijers and former vice prime minister of the Netherlands Jan Terlouw.

Landscape – differently

The Gelderland Peize die quality of landscape his awarded every two year. This year’s theme – landscape, differently – fitted well with pilgrimage.

Sint Jansbeek: audacious city transformation

The winner of the juryprijs was het stedelijke beeklandschap de Sint Jansbeek, refiguring one of the old streams of Arnhem in the city and thus tranforming the public face.

The complete juryrapport.

Duivelsberg, Walk of Wisdom, door Thomas Hontelez
Duivelsberg, Walk of Wisdom, door Thomas Hontelez

With joy we donated €150,- for the Dutch conservation trust to maintain the Palland Valley. The valley is kept to demonstrate the original Dutch landschape with braided and wooded hedges. The trust campaigns for funds to restore this landscape. Our pilgrimage passes through the valley and we are glad to help our.

We donate €1,- for each pilgrim to the landschape on our pilgrimage.