Small boat in Dutch canalTake a short virtual tour with Peter, an accountant in the Netherlands, who makes walking part of his routine

There’s no denying it: walking is good for you. And that’s why we see more and more people that make walking a part of their daily or weekly routine. In the story below we follow Peter, a self-employed accountant living in the Netherlands. He tells us how he incorporates walking in his working life and how he experiences it. We hope this story will help inspire you to also walk more.


Walking through Haarlem, singing in England Park and herons taking off

Haarlem is a popular city. People often associate walking with shopping through the pleasant center. As a self-employed accountant I work from home. This means I spend many hours in front of a PC. I’ve recently passed 50 years and learned that it’s important to not only care for your finances, but also for your body. So I make sports and exercise part of my daily routine.

One of the easiest and most pleasant activities I build into my day is walking. At noon and at the end of the day I regularly go for a walk through the England Park close to where I live. In the park I enjoy the wide variety of trees and especially the song of the birds.


Walking through England Park

Walking among the trees I hear all kinds of birds whistling and singing. And I see a heron taking off from the waterfront on the river Spaarne.

heron wading in water

Keeping your eyes open, there are always little surprises when you’re out walking, like this heron

There’s a long and winding road here (reminds me of a Beatles song) that I enjoy taking. When I walk over it I’m always amazed. It’s only ten minutes by bike from the city-center, but here I am in this serene peace and quiet. The farmer puts his cows in the pasture and brings them back inside in the evening. Further on there a row of villa houses with space and tranquility. I really like it.


Am I lucky where I live?

Maybe yes, I certainly feel very happy where I live. Haarlem is one of the most attractive cities in the Netherlands. Recently it was chosen as the fourth most attractive place to live in the Netherlands. So maybe I’m lucky to live here.

streetview of pedestrian area in Haarlem

I admit, Haarlem is particularly nice. But most towns and cities have areas that lend themselves well to walking, If you explore your local neighbourhood you’re very likely to find someplace nice.

But I think many towns and cities have places like this nearby where you can be by yourself for a little bit and experience nature. It could be a park like where I live, or perhaps a river, a piece of woodland, a lake, some hills, the beach, etc.


A little virtual tour

Let me give you a bit more of a taste of what it’s like here. And hopefully it will inspire you to find a similar space where you live.


The boat to Heemstede

There is a boat – a ferry – that connects the Southside of Haarlem with the other side of the city and so you are in the town of Heemstede in no time. Anyone who does not take that exit and continues to walk or cycle the long and winding road I told you about will also come to a boat that, in the Summer months, will take you to the Cruquius pumping station. The transfer is free, although the captain appreciates a voluntary contribution. After the crossing you can resume walking to the villages of Bennebroek and Hillegom.


Walking to Vijfhuizen

A little further up you can cross the bridge. If you turn left there, you walk towards Vijfhuizen. A picturesque village, in which defense works were built along the dike during the Second World War. The bunkers are still present now and are in fact part of the Defense Line of Amsterdam.


A tax-deductible snack

Nearby is a tapas restaurant where you can enjoy a snack. As a self-employed accountant I can be found there regularly with clients. It is a pleasant bike ride (yes, I also cycle – this is the Netherlands after all) and the costs are deductible for business purposes. A win-win situation thus emerges. I know, you have to be an accountant to get excited about such things, but as entrepreneurs we have to be a little bit clever sometimes. For more information about deductible costs for the self-employed person, I refer you to my site.

View onto the river Spaarne in Haarlem, with houses on both sides

The Spaarne river has some beautiful spots and views. I really enjoy walking along here.

Walking to the city-center

If you walk on towards the city you go past a few more interesting sites. For example, you pass the rowing club and football club Olympia Haarlem. You’ll then have the Spaarne river on your left. The Teylers Museum, the oldest museum in the Netherlands, is located on the Spaarne. The mill de Adriaan has been rebuilt and is the old chocolate factory of Droste.


Put on your walking-shoes

I hope this little virtual tour has inspired you in some way to also go out and explore the area where you live. I have found that going on foot (or by bike) when you have the opportunity is a small blessing for your body and mind. I love how a simple walk has the ability to lift your spirit and clear your mind. After having been out and about I come back refreshed and revived. All ready to do some more accounting.


Image credits

About Peter Brink

ZZP Boekhouder

Peter Brink works as an accountant in the Netherlands. He specialises in assisting small businesses, typically self-employed entrepreneurs. Like so many office jobs, being an accountant involves spending lots of time sitting behind a screen. One way Peter likes to stay fit is by taking regular walks close to home.

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