Behind the clichés of Staphorst

About this experience

  • Tour by bike
  • 3 hrs
  • Group size: 5 – 8
  • €95.00

What are the similarities between the Amish people in North America and the Staphorst community in the province of Overijssel? Both are very close knit, pious and some still wear typical traditional costumes. There is no village in the Netherlands about which so many clichés exist as Staphorst. For more than a century, the village has been a magnet for artists, writers, painters, filmmakers and the media. An image has developed both locally and abroad which does represent the real identity of the village and the villagers. During this experience, journalist and filmmaker Geertjan, who was born and raised in Staphorst, is able to present an in-depth and different view about his village and the people who live here, and dispel some of the myths. He will reveal his fascination with the dichotomies of image and identity, and of dark and light, the magic of the village and its contradictions.

Experience description

Staphorst remains a largely orthodox Calvinist village and has one of the highest church attendance rates of the Netherlands. During this experience Geertjan will show the different aspects of his village and the changes that have taken place over the years. He will introduce you to some of the locals who like to share their thoughts about their community. By way of this introduction, Geertjan hopes to present a broad view of Staphorst to his guests. What he wants is for people to look at the reality in a different way, and to overturn those seemingly undisputed images. ‘I am a storyteller, but always with a journalistic foundation.’ So, I am not an PR-agent for Staphorst. I seek to present a realistic picture, and to remove unwarranted prejudices. That is also my mission as journalist and director. I will not gloss over any issues.

For whom?

  • Culture lovers
  • People working in media-industry, searching for in-depth information
  • Students
  • Old Dutch tradition seekers
  • Curious about a typical religious community
  • Gain real insight and knowledge about Staphorst

This tour includes:

  • A meeting with an intriguing Dutch reporter/documentary film maker
  • Bike rental

What you get

  • A meeting with an intriguing Dutch reporter/documentary film maker
  • Insights regarding how media reports create unbalanced images
  • Visiting stunning and characteristic spots
  • Meeting with residents of Staphorst
  • Insight into a traditional (Dutch) way of life
  • Bike rental



Oude Rijksweg
Staphorst, Overijssel

About Geertjan

As a prize winning director and investigative journalist, Geertjan produces documentaries for the Nederlandse Publieke Omroep (NPO) (Netherlands Public Broadcasting). Besides multi-tiered documentaries (Channel NPO2), he creates television stories for a broad public (Channel NPO1), and programs for young people (NPO3). Geertjan has traveled the world for his films. And yet, his roots keep calling. The countryside, the innate culture, about which he has made several films, such as the mini-series Overijssel, about religious beliefs and superstition, and Zwart IJs (Black Ice), the film about old style skating which is rooted in the countryside.

Book this experience

To make sure this experience meets your preferences and expectations, we would like to make a personalized offer. Please contact us to book this exclusive experience. We will set a suitable date in consultation with you and the host.

Reviews of this experience

Jales R.

Doing the Staphorst tour was a great experience. It was interesting to get a different perspective from the Netherlands, a country that is famous the world over for being one of the most secular, modern and urban countries in Europe. However, it is a multifaceted country with so many different aspects, stories, and colors to discover.

Geertjan was a great guide, and gave me an insider’s view from a community that is mostly surrounded by clichés and is not very well known and understood by outsiders. It was interesting to be introduced to different people in the community: a charming elderly lady in her lovely old house who still wears the traditional Staphorst clothing in her daily life; a large family who, in spite of dressing in a modern way, is still very involved in the religious life of the community; another family who, in spite of being devout, are very open and warm, and have relatives in Dutch farming communities in my country, Brazil.

For someone interested in history, culture, religious affairs and life in general, I highly recommend this tour. It is always instructive and fun to see the different facets of reality, which is never as black and white as it seems.

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