Scouting in Ommen
For a century Scouts have been coming to the Dutch official campsite Eerde of Scouting Nederland*. Thanks to Lord Philip van Pallandt country estate Eerde became a booming centre for Scouts. In 1913, at the age of 23, Lord van Pallandt became the owner of this country estate. Since then, the campsite became freely accessible to Scouts. Back then, the campsite officially became part of the NPG (Nederlandse Padvindsters Gilde), Dutch Girl Guides. Campsite Eerde was just a small part of the estate area of Lord van Pallandt. In total, it covered over 1,500 hectares. The existing National Park in Ommen, the Eerder Achterbroek and the castle of Eerde were all once part of the estate area. Already in 1913, the first Scouts camped at the river de Regge in Ommen.
* Scouting Nederland is the official, national Scouting organisation.
NPO Troop 2 from The Hague –also known as the Baron van Pallandt Troop- was led by Jan Schaap. He was one of Lord’s dearest friends and an important person in the first years of Scouting in the Netherlands. Since 1913, Jan and his troop would camp at Eerde annually. Campsite Eerde is a small and quiet place. Scouts discovered this area about 100 years ago and still -in the 21st century- find their way to this unspoiled forestland near the river de Regge.
Campsite Eerde has seven small sub sites with running water. However, no electricity. And campfire-cooking should ensure your hot drinks and diner. Around 1926, a cabin and staff house were built. There is also a toilet. That’s it.
Anno 2014, you still feel the atmosphere of those days.
Back in 1923, the first how-to-become-a-leader courses were given. Ommen became the centre of the Dutch Scouting movement. Eerde became the main campsite and education institute of the Dutch Girl Guides. For a long time, only girls and women were allowed at campsite Eerde. Since the seventies all genders have been welcome.
The first cabin and staff house were built in 1926. The cabin burnt down straight after World War II. A more basic version was rebuilt in 1948 and the staff house was reconstructed. Back then the staff house was nothing more than a room, kitchen with a thatched roof and a wooden stove. All walls were wooden.
In 1944, during World War II, many hungry citizens fled to the countryside. Also family Hengst (father, mother and 2 sons) left The Hague and came to Ommen. As Scouting was forbidden during the German occupation, the cabin and staff house were empty. Lord van Pallandt gave family Hengst permission to move into the cabin. After the war, in 1945, Scouting rose again and they needed to leave the cabin. However, they were able to move into the staff house. Finally, in 1948 they moved to the town of Ommen as they needed to leave the staff house.
In 1948, as a ten year old girl, princess Beatrix visited campsite Eerde with her Scouting troop. For that occasion the staff house was redecorated. The house was extended with a dormitory, fireplace, shower, toilet and a large attic.
Girl Guide ‘Queen Juliana’ visited Eerde in 1953. Her visit was hot news and published in the Dutch weekly paper De Spiegel.
The century celebration has been celebrated a while ago. The existing owner signed a contract with Natuurmonumenten (Dutch Nature Foundation) and formally assigned the cabin and staff house to Scouting.
Source: De Darde Klokke, November 2013, edition number 169, three-monthly magazine.
Harry Woertink wrote the article ‘Scouting in Ommen’.