Monday, May 21, 2012

Landvættir walk

Yesterday Ron and I went for a walk with a little group of people in a part of the "Noordhollands Duinreservaat", one of the largest national parks in The Netherlands (7000+ hectare). It stretches along the coast of North Holland from Wijk aan Zee to Bergen aan Zee (see map). We started in Castricum.
Organiser Michiel guided us through the beautiful landscape. He first told us about the 'landvættir', literally 'land wights' or spirits of the land (Genius Loci). They protect and promote the flourishing of the specific places where they live, which can be as small as a rock or a corner of a field, or as large as a section of a country.

To honour them we did a little ritual at the beginning of our walk. Michiel led us into a visualisation to meet the spirits of the land. I met some of the tree spirits, rowan and oak. It felt very powerful and warm.

The weather forecast wasn't great beforehand, but we had great walking weather. Just a little rain, a bit of sunshine and very nice temperature. We have walked for more than 4 hours with some stops along the way.

Although this national park is not very far from my 'own' dunes in IJmuiden, the landscape was very different. Or perhaps it just felt different, I can't really explain it. But beautiful it was!


  1. Beautiful shots, for sure! Dad loves the trees and greenery.

  2. Beautiful nature really, the one with the cattle looks like in Scotland!

    (We say landvättar in Swedish, they've existed in the Nordic countries mythology. They were said to give happiness and wealth, especially women did sacrifice food to them).

  3. The cattle are Scottish Highlanders (literal translation from Dutch, don't know if that's what they are called in English) and there are Shetland quarter horses (?). It looks great when you see them, but actually they do a lot of harm to the original landscape, because they don't belong there...

    Landvaettir is Icelandic I guess?

  4. What a beautiful place !

  5. It's not that far from Amsterdam (see map); perhaps on your next visit? :-)


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