Bernhard Vreugdenhil embraces NivonJong

Bernhard Vreugdenhil
Genealogiecode: O XI o.1.1
Foto: Bernhard Vreugdenhil

Since February 2018, NivonJong has been the youth department of Nivon Natuurvrienden (Nivon Friends of Nature). They organize activities for adrenalin junkies, lovers of nature and those who search for inspiration aged between 15 and 30. Their goals: inspire young people to go and experience nature.

Do you love going on an adventure? NivonJong is the new youth department of Nivon. NivonJong organizes breath-taking activities for everyone: from winter sports with peers to movie nights in the middle of the forest, hikes through the Ardennes to late-night drinking in nature. NivonJong is also committed to a subtainable and and fair society. They think it’s very important to create awareness for nature and sustainability. Bernhard tells why he embraces NivonJong.

Why bushcrafting is such a great idea

Hiking without knowing where you’re going to sleep that night. Looking around you across large green spaces, through trees. Experience birds, wind, silence. Having birch bark in your pocket, collecting dry twigs and branches. Using flint and tinder. And the doubt connected to it: am I going to succeed today? There’s a flame. Yes! You’ve successfully made a fire where you now place your kettle to heat water. Put your hammock between trees. It’s pure freedom. “Why do you do it? What’s the fun in this?”

You’ve been taught to play at marbles, do maths, learned how to write, been filled with knowledge about wars, cultures and societies, but no knowledge made such an impact as the basic information about nature. It was like the last piece of the puzzle was placed. It’s the feeling of knowing which plants can be eaten or have medicinal purposes, knowing about waterfilters, recognizing game tracks, or learning how to make fire. It’s as if somewhere in your DNA that knowledge is already stored, just waiting for you to reconnect with it. It sounds almost spiritual, which it comes very close to.

Living with and out of nature, you could call it bushcraft. Primitive skills and a basic knowledge of how to survive. It’s very exciting because you fill yourself with that knowledge, you’re disconnected from your wifi, electricity, inductions plate, even your phone!

“Back to basics, to the core of human life.”

It’s the art of being able to put modern technology aside for a while. Bushcraft has been gaining in popularity over the last few years, something which you can already see from the shows on Discovery Channel and even on YouTube. More and more bushcrafting school pop up in the Netherlands. And recently the study Practical Bushcraft Trainer even became available in Wageningen. In my opinion, more and more people have started to realize that technology isn’t everything. Millions of Dutch people have an office job, while scientific research is coming to the conclusion that we’re almost literally are sitting there dying. Nothing in our body has been designed for sitting on a chair 8 hours a day, and then sit in front of the tv for the duration of the evening. “Sitting raises risk of early death,” a headline of the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper stated.

But why bushcraft? Why go outside to move and learn about the nature around you? Because we’re made for it, and the experience is truly remarkable.