Skip to Content

Archived News

SANParks Goes Dutch

09 November 2006

It was a cold day in Utrecht, and a small group of strangers met at the at Utrecht Central Station. They had traveled from various locations in the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. The occasion? The first ever SANParks Forum "Euro Meet". So how did a group of people who had never met each other before end up together in Utrecht? And where does SANParks fit in?

It all began a few months ago...Jan Kriel, head of Field Guiding in the Kgalagadi, and known on the SANParks Forums as the "Kgalagadi Guru", mentioned he would be in Europe in November and would like to meet some of the European SANParks forum members.

Our European members immediately began planning. "We were thrilled we would get the chance to meet Jan, and each other," said Gwen, one of our forum moderators based in the Netherlands. Using their own resources, members from Germany, the UK and the Netherlands made plans to meet in Utrecht on the 4 November, co-inciding with Jan Kriel's visit.

On the morning of the 4th a small group of forumites made their way from Utrecht Central Station towards Café Het Weeshuis where they met the rest of the group, including Jan. The group included members from the UK, who had arrived in Amsterdam the night before, and the “Dutchies” travelling by train from other areas in the Netherland.

After a warming coffee, the group visited the Dom church in Utrecht, on a tour organized by Gwen for the occassion. The group then had lunch at Café Reunie. More forum members arrived after lunch.

The group then made their way to a National Museum that houses a collection of mechanical music and musical instruments like Carillon clocks, musical boxes, pianolas, dance hall organs, sharing some of this European Culture with Jan. “Listening to all the music made us thirsty, so we headed off to another café”, laughs Gwen, “where we met up with Zypresse and her partner, after which Jan gave a speech. It was wonderful to hear Jan talk about his work in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. He is truly passionate about working for SANParks”, Gwen adds.