Algemeen Dagblad - By: Niki van der Naald
There aren't many fireworks-free holiday parks yet. The parks that openly advertise this, are all booked around New Years Eve, as a safe haven for nervous dogs and their owners.
,,You can give 'em a drink or a pill, but I'd rather come here. Truffel goes crazy in your own street. It's like Iraq over there. His heart almost stops everytime he hears an explosion. He goes completely bananas.’’
Truffel is Petra and Rinus Kooij's 4-year old cairn terrier. If you touch Truffel, you touch them. This animal heart really can't deal with all the fireworks in their home village. That's why the couple from Gamere, near Zaltbommel, decided to book a holiday home at holiday park De Scheleberg in Lunteren.
The park presents itself as a fireworks-free area. According to administrator René Gorter, the estate with holiday homes at the Veluwe is already completely booked. It's the first time that this has happened.
,,We've seen a growing interest, thanks to the increasing discussion about fireworks. Last year there were many interested people, now all two hundred holiday houses are booked. And 90% of these guests are people who are coming with their dog in order to escape the fireworks.’’
The so-called ‘fireworks refugees’ are a market gap. ,,People start booking earlier and earlier. There are also more and more members of dog associations. Word gets around between the members’', says Gorter. And if your park is flooded with dog owners anyway, why not expand the concept, they thought at de Scheleberg. They did so with a special dog buffet in the restaurant and with outdoor activities for dogs and owners.
Sometimes there also are foreign guests, unaware of the fact that this is a fireworks-free park. ,,If there are people who don't know about the fireworks ban, I'll just drive them to another location on New Years Eve. A little further away they can light all the fireworks they want. No problem.’' Each evening, two of the staff check whether the fireworks ban is being respected. ,,We use patrols to actively check on this.’'
You do, however, still hear bangs in the distance. Gorter: ,,Those are mostly explosions from youngsters who are carbide-shooting. That's what happens in this area. You can't completely prevent all bangs, but it's only in the distance. You don't hear direct bangs from fireworks here.’’
Once in a while, Truffel lifts his head when he hears the bangs in the distance. ,,But he's so quiet compared to how he usually would be at home during this time of year. He'd just be shaking there. ’', says Petra. The days around New Years Eve are 'not as fun as before' since they have a dog. ,,I really don't care about the fireworks, so I'm glad once it's over again.”
On New Years Day, they go home again. If there are still people in the neighbourhood playing with fire crackers, they'd better watch out for Rinus. ,,I'm not spending my money on a holiday home to still suffer from fireworks at home. Don't mess with me.’’
Would you also like a fireworks-free New Years Eve next year?
Then book a holiday home at one of our fireworks-free holiday parks.