Avond4Daagse – Our First Time!

Another Dutch tradition for me and the kids to experience is the Avond4Daagse. This is the FIRST year for our kids to participate.  Not sure why we didn’t do it last year when they were their newcomers class but we never heard about it.

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KEY POINTS

  • Kids  walk 5KM, 10KM, 15KM or 25KM each night for 4 consecutive nights.
  • Whole point is to promote outdoor, healthy exercise.
  • It is an offspring of the Nijmegen Vierdaagse.
  • It seem that kids start to join in from age 5, but I did see some younger kids too.
  • Most walk together with their school groups with coordinating shirts.
  • One person holds a flag or teddy with same shirt up high so you can find your group and stick together (if you want).
  • Warning: Cover your ears when you enter tunnels as kids scream as loudly!
  • Not sure if it’s true but I was told you want to be the first in your school to get back to the start. We did NOT try for this at all.
  • Kids bring snoepjes to eat and share with friends.
  • Each school sets up a table with drinks and treats someone where along the walk.
  • Kids pay €5 each and get a small treat each day (apples were provided 2x, water and kit kat bar).
  • Strangely enough, you are NOT required to walk all four nights (it used to be but not any more!  There are no check points or stamping system, so you can walk only one night (closest to your house and take home a metal – but you must pay the €5.
  • Final night, each child receives a medal – with a number representing the number of times you’ve participated so in our case #1 – EXCITING!

WHERE DO YOU WALK?

Each night the location changes where it starts… but it’s all within Den Bosch so you really get to see a lot of the city.  Still maintain our area is the BEST!  Depending on where you live, you’ll have to trek across the gemeente to the starting point.  This is best done on your bike as there will be traffic and parking issues.

Day 1:  De Donken
Day 2:  Hintham
Day 3:  Schutskamp
Day 4:  City Centre

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Our friends in Den Haag do it every year and knowing them they are walking the 15 or 25 KM 🙂   There are walks that take place all over the country, co-ordinated on this website.  Anyway, our eldest at 11 chose to walk the 10K with some classmates and our second at 9 did the 5K with me.  That was plenty for her… even next year, I think 5KM is plenty!

NIGHT ONE

We first started off at their friends house where we’d cycle with them and their dad – he’s from the area so us being able to tag along with them was very handy!

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We had to first cycle 5.5 KM, then walk 5KM, then cycle 5KM home.   Our non-native Dutch legs were fine. Earlier in the day, I was dreading it.  Ha ha    All in all it wasn’t so bad, but my 9 year old was mad at me because I was over protective of her cycling.  She kept going out to the left on the bike path so I was concerned other that she be hit by the fast cyclist going by and the scooters, etc.   She has never had a bad fall on her bike as we do in the Netherlands – no one wears helmets, I’m concerned for her.  But after three days of cycling like this – she was so great, I’m very comfortable with her cycling skills.

They were very particular about looking at the kaartjes this year before they gave out the water, but they didn’t stamp the cards.   So unlike years before where you had to do each and every night, you do NOT have to do all four nights.

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After the first night, Soren came home excited and told me that I have to make him this “lemon and peppermint thing” which he can suck on like some of his friends.  Oh okay – so immediately I search it up and discover to what he is referring.

You cut an orange or lemon in half, put a few peppermints on top and then wrap in a cheesecloth or tea towel.  Kids suck on it when they walk.  Dentists hate them and encourage parents and kids to not use them.  Some kids love them.  After the one time – Soren didn’t need it again – great! 

NIGHT TWO

First we need to get from the city centre to the starting point in Hintham (edge of Rosmalen) near Den Bosch Football stadium where co-incidentally they were playing so you could hear chants, drums and yelling from time to time.   So first cycle 4 KM then walk 5KM then cycle 4 KM home.   

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First we walked through some estates and over the Ah river.

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Then it took us around the Oosterplaas which was nice as I’ve never been there. 

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NIGHT THREE

While not as far as night 1 & 2, Maebh & I cycled over to CHC Voetball club where this walk began.  It was a fine walk – through neighborhoods of their newcomersclass school, by the Paleiskwartier over behind the Jeroen Bosch Ziekenhuis and then back through the same neighborhoods and returned to the CHC to grab our bikes and head home.

The 10K loop did the De Moerputten and Soren came home COVERED in bug bites – need to remember for next year, we must cover him in insect repellant!

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NIGHT FOUR

I love this location – it starts & ends at the Parade, so we’ll just walk from home!  When we got there we didn’t see any of M’s friends nor the school flag but we did see a girl in Soren’s class which Maebh is friends with so we walked with them … perfect!

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During the walk, kids from our school detour and stop by the Zuid school where the kids pick up their medals and can stay and have a drink and a bit of party.  Many families go home from there, but some continue on to the Parade where there is loads of music and entertainment where the final event comes together!  Some families buy chocolates, flowers and other treats to congratulate the kids for walking – now I find that a bit silly and a waste of money but I guess it’s part of the tradition.  We didn’t make it to the Parade this year, we finished up at the school.  But next year, we’ll grab the medal from the school yard and go straight on…   I’d like to see what’s happening there.

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At first Maebh was angry that we didn’t go to the Parade, but Soren and Nils are off to the UK early this am to watch a football match and I didn’t want to make it any later.   She got over it rather quickly, thankfully!  It was already nearly 9 pm when we walked home – look how beautiful – and the hot air balloon started to take off as we walked home.

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I’m also pleased that our kids walked ALL FOUR NIGHTS and happy the weather cooperated all four nights!  I suppose to me this was the best night – probably because we are all happy our lives are going to return to ‘normal’ and I walked with both kids together.  Now no more super fast dinners and out the door, riding our bikes across town then walking 5KM or 10 KM.  Figuring out who Soren can go to and from while I walked with Maebh.   Kids can go to be earlier and be less grumpy in the morning when I’m getting them out of bed.

Glad I got to experience our first Avond4Daagse – great for my Inburgering 🙂  So will we do it again next year – ABSOLUTELY!

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