Tholen - After two years of intensive work and a cautious start this spring, Mathijs and Simone van der Knaap have now opened their Gasterij de Kwakel. At this event's venue, a stone's throw from the auction and right next to one of the largest horticultural areas in the country, you can eat and drink, meet and hold conferences, mourn and marry, celebrate anniversaries and, of course, just have a party, for whatever reason.
Mathijs, Simone and their daughter Yoëll, standing in front of the Gasterij
For many years, Mathijs ran the plant nursery De Noordpoel together with his brother Arnoud. Five years ago, this came to an end. Arnoud was moving on, and Mathijs wanted to come up with something else. What exactly, he did not know at the time, but it had to be something that would allow him to make people happy. In the meantime (and still now), he was making a living with sales for Aphrodite Orchids and Mixt Creations, and his wife also has her own job.
Until two and a half years ago, when an opportunity presented itself. An old farmhouse, located on the Vuurlijn, on one of the few "rural" plots left between Amsterdam and Schiphol, came up for sale, and that was the beginning of the Gasterij. The old house was renovated; then work was done on the farmhouse and its stables, and now, after some delay due to corona restrictions, the doors are finally open.
"We focus on both the consumer and the business markets," said Mathijs. "The idea is to host business events during the week: fairs, company parties, presentations, conferences. With a nice snack and a drink, lunch or dinner, indoors or on the terrace, cozy in the De Feesterij (smaller room) or royal in De Ambachterij (the larger room). We want to offer entrepreneurs in the area a nice location in a beautiful setting in which to meet their customers or present new products."
The idea is for regular customers to be welcome on the weekends. "Day trippers from the area or other places can hold parties and celebrations. We have a nice playing field for the children, a "sports hall" (for now, it's a soccer hall, but we can do anything with it), a large hall, a small hall and also several smaller rooms."
The big room - more photos at website.
That's basically what Mathijs and Simone have planned, but nothing is set in stone. There are plenty of ideas and possibilities, including offering accommodation.
The first successful steps have already been made. The terrace is open, the first parties have taken place, and at the beginning of this year, the first real ornamental plant cultivation fair, the GreenVention, was held there, with due observance of all the applicable measures. "That was really great. I honestly believe that our Guesthouse is allowing us to offer something new to the area."