Douwe Snoek’s Green Environment
Douwe Snoek of Snoek Puur Groen
A green environment is good for you. A walk in nature makes it easier to clear your head. To escape the hectic pace of everyday life you need to find a place to rest and feel more grounded. Callantsoog has it! Beach, dunes, traditional Dutch meadow landscapes, they’re all here; in abundance.
We want to recreate that feeling in our parks, but we also want to protect the natural environment. That’s why a lot of planning goes into how we’re going to organise the park well before construction starts. It’s an enormous responsibility and we’re happy to share it with our partner Snoek Puur Groen.
Douwe Snoek is the head of this real family gardening business that was founded by his parents and which celebrated its 40th-anniversary last year. He joined the company just before the turn of the century and has been the proud owner since 2016.
“We want to think as ethically as possible about what we do in everything we do. Not just about green, but also, for example, how we treat people"
“We want to think as ethically as possible about what we do in everything we do. Not just about green, but also, for example, how we treat people. My father made me aware of the importance of sustainable employability of our people a long time ago.
We try to avoid people having to go to the physiotherapist by thinking about how we can create a work environment that reduces the possible causes of complaints. Care for our employees is paramount. By thinking like this we have been able to reduce our absenteeism enormously. It is a small example, but this way of thinking suits us and I’m proud to lead our team.”
Did Your Green Genes Determine What You Wanted To Be?
“We have an old photo at home. In the photo, I must be about nine years old, and I’m mowing the lawn. It captured an iconic moment because I knew at that point that it was something I really wanted to do. Green is certainly in my blood, but entrepreneurship is too.
The right plant in the right place is a bit more difficult on the coast. The salty air means that not everything is going to flourish here. We always look for a connection with the environment. We look at the groundwater levels, heat stress, airflow and location. By studying this carefully and making considered choices in our planting we can add something that can contribute to an increase in biodiversity. By increasing the variety of plants we can increase the variety of insects.”
Rainwater Is Not Wastewater
“When it rains at Callantsoog, we ensure that we channel the water into the soil. Not a drop goes into the drains and this is how we maintain the groundwater level here. We did this by placing water soakaway crates in the ground which collect all the rainwater. The crates are wrapped in a permeable membrane which slowly releases the water back into the sand. This way you prevent a lot of damage to the environment because the soil does not wash away and that is better for the drains. We use a similar system on the flat roofs. This creates a place on the roof where birds can bathe and another new habitat. These are things that you don’t see but they are of great added value. We constantly try to think about this in our business operations.”
Pure Green at Qurios
Danny de Vries is the landscape designer for Callantsoog. As a child he could always be found in nature, jumping in the stream, sailing his boat and catching fish. Danny tried to capture that feeling in the park’s new playground. He designed the water feature to give kids the feeling of jumping in a stream – just like he did.
We have created a network of water channels at the park, based on the system used in the polders. This allows us to control the drainage of water in the winter, when there may be a surplus of water, but also in the summer when evaporation can cause a water shortage. If the soil dries out, it can cause the land to subside, which is not good for nature. We prevent this by planting beautiful reeds in the channels. They fit perfectly in the local environment and also help to create some privacy for our guests. We also plant organic bulbs from the farmer around the corner, which create a beautiful swathe of colour in the spring.
We also tried to recreate the ‘’Nollen” landscape when landscaping the park. This is the landscape you can see right along the coastal region of North Holland. It’s characterised by gently undulating dunes formed by drifting sand. The Nollendland van Abbestede near Callantsoog is an area where you’ll find these dunes in the middle of the polder. This is the landscape, with its dunes and the beach grass that we have recreated in the park.
Nectar under the knife
We have sown a special mixture of wildflowers called “Nectar under the Knife” in the grass. It stimulates biodiversity in and attracts bees that ensure better pollination.