Jacobsgenootschap autumn day: That’s how it can be done!

Saturday, November 11, I was with Manja at the fall meeting of the Jacobsgenootschap with a stand about the Walk of Wisdom. The society helps pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The association has more than 13,000 members who often remain members even if they have already completed the tour one or more times. Why that is, we felt again today.

It’s raining?

Although I do my best every day to be a friendly fellow citizen, this is sometimes hard for me. People rushing bits past you, incessant news about polarization and war, the speed with which everything of value turns into a product… None of that today!

In the station hall of Deventer, two volunteers of the society warmly show us the way. Five hundred meters further there are two more. The pouring rain is no obstacle to a hearty hello: “here left and around the corner!”

When we pass an open, monumental hall, we can see coats hanging from afar. Beautiful, thick coats in all colors and sizes. “Bring along for free. In Deventer, no one has to suffer from the cold” it says. I take pictures to make sure I know what I saw here at home.

This day, however, I get enough confirmation: the world is not so bad. The autumn meeting of the pilgrimage society turns out to be a warm bath where modern pilgrimage values such as simplicity, contemplation and solidarity are cherished. To be happy, you don’t need much. Let go of your expectations and fears and hit the road. The world is your oyster.

Under a different sky

To give you an idea: 600 members of the society paid a small contribution and were given a well-groomed day. A big lecture by philosopher Joke Hermsen about her new book Under another sky, live music, city walks with a guide, workshops where you could carve your own walking stick or a project choir that performed for everyone at the end of the day. There were smaller meetings about meaning, architecture or the jubilee book of a pilgrim’s hostel where, thanks to hundreds of volunteers, more than 33,000 pilgrims could spend the night in 20 years for a voluntary contribution.

I just stumbled upon the volunteers and friendly people. There was unlimited tea, coffee, lunch and drinks afterwards. Board members of the society walked around the stands with interest. At those stands stood enthusiastic people who had something to do with modern pilgrimage. And all that in a beautiful, centuries-old church.

It was a beautiful day. Not everything has to be a paid service! The world is not going to die because of commerce!

With Sedat and Iris from the Sufi trail

More about the Jacobsgenootschap

Becoming a member of the Jacobsgenootschap costs €26 per year. For this you will receive a welcome package about pilgrimage including a pilgrim’s passport. The association’s magazine is published four times a year, which is well worth reading. The society runs on many enthusiastic volunteers who are active in all regions of the Netherlands with living room meetings. Twice a year there is a meeting like the one in Deventer. More: link.

Lounging in a quiet place