Belvilla by OYO

In this holiday home, you are really doing sustainable tourism

You want to see a part of the world. Preferably without burdening the environment. Many tourists are sometimes faced with this dilemma. Because true sustainable travel is extremely difficult. Dutchman Arie has come up with a solution. In North Holland, you can spend the night in his climate-neutral holiday home, which can be booked via holiday home specialist Belvilla. 

Some 40 kilometers north of Amsterdam, Arie and Mariëlle bought a house in the idyllic village of Heiloo. Not just any house, but a historic farmhouse dating from 1876. Arie set up the Pauwenhof holiday home under the meters-high roof. Up to 20 guests can stay there in the middle of nature. Without polluting the environment. 

Ecological renovation works 

Transforming a centuries-old farmhouse into an ecological holiday home… that takes some serious renovation work. So Arie took the house in hand. “The thatched roof insulates well. Nevertheless, I put a thick layer of PIR insulation panels against it. The windows were replaced with windows in HR++ insulation glass. Thanks to these measures, the heat stays inside and the cold outside. 

“All household appliances are now electric. You cook on an induction hob,” Arie continues. “A load of solar panels produces all the electricity the house needs. And an electric salt system heats the water. Through a chemical process, it generates enough energy to bring 280 liters of water up to a temperature of 70°C.” 

Arie also tackled the central heating system. “In the past, the residents shared the farm with their livestock. The animals provided the heat. Later, a coal-fired heating system was installed, then oil and then gas. Now we heat with wood that we cut down on our own property, and we regularly plant new trees. Is it getting too hot inside? Then you open some windows upstairs and downstairs. The house will cool down quickly because of the wind. A tactic that farmers used to use to dry their hay.”

Fight against global warming 

For Arie and his wife Mariëlle, their sustainable transformation was a logical choice. “We have two teenage daughters. And as a teacher at the European School in Bergen, I come into contact with children from all over the world,” explains Arie. “All these children know very well what is wrong with our climate. They are disappointed because the current generation is doing little or nothing to combat global warming.” 

This disappointment sometimes even drives the children to disillusionment, says Arie. “It’s logical, isn’t it? Even in Antarctica, temperatures are soaring. Recently it was 40°C warmer than usual.” He explains that our earth is not doing well and the problem is seriously underestimated. “When I was a student, there was talk of sustainable tourism but if you do it this way, with a carbon footprint of zero, then you get very close to really sustainable tourism.” 

For this, Arie also asks an effort from his guests. “I also think guests can act responsibly. Sort and separate waste neatly. And also accepting that it does not have to be 21 degrees all the time. With these small adjustments, we are already taking the first step towards a sustainable future.” 


Modern comfort 

During the renovation works, Arie did not only pay attention to the environment. The comfort of the guests is also central in Pauwenhof. The farm still contains many authentic elements. Yet the interior is very modern, stylish and luxurious. The brand new kitchen and bathrooms prove it. Thanks to a recent fiber optic cable, you can surf hyper fast from one website to another via the wireless internet. 

When the weather is nice, guests can enjoy themselves in the gigantic garden. Or they can plan an outing in the neighborhood. You can easily explore Noord-Holland on foot or by bike. Mapped out routes take you to the Markermeer or the North Sea beach. Nearby, you can soak up the atmosphere in the bustling town of Alkmaar. Where you can visit the legendary cheese market. A little further away is the Dutch capital Amsterdam, which is also worth a visit. 

Follow us: