Annemijn (37) moved with her family and in-laws to the Achterhoek: ‘We are living our dream!’

Life on a farm with endless space, hopping animals, a man in a lumberjack shirt and kids running around in colorful overalls. As a real urban girl, 37-year-old Annemijn dreamed of this idyllic existence. In November 2021, this dream became reality and she moved with her family and parents-in-law to the Achterhoek: “If we go, we will all go!”

The long-cherished wish of the Alkmaar was fulfilled in the corona time, but the jitters to move to the Achterhoek bubbled up earlier. ”Due to the camping visits in Lochem, the Achterhoek area is anything but unknown to us. The plan to leave urban life behind us and move to the other side of the country was discussed more and more. Also because of the pandemic we asked ourselves the question: ‘What do we really want?’ When we were at the campsite for the last time and we were all scouring Funda for the dream house in the Achterhoek, we knew enough: we’re going for it!”

Annemijn would not only chase her dream with her husband Matthijs (40) and three daughters Fien (11), Juul (9) and Sijtje (3). Hubby’s parents also opted for the Achterhoek adventure. “If we go, we’ll all go.”

Converting an old farm into a home

After a considerable house hunt, the family came across an old farm at the foot of the hills of the Bergherbos. “A house with a huge amount of space, but which also needed a lot of renovation. We have taken up that challenge. Grandpa and grandma will enter the original house and we will transform ‘de Deel’ into a house. Until then, we will live comfortably in a container home.”

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Leaving a precious place

To keep family and friends left behind informed about their moving and DIY adventures in the Achterhoek, Annemijn started an Instagram page: the New Nest. “It’s a glimpse into our lives: our plans, progress, and how we’re doing.” Annemijn describes the adventure as an enormous rollercoaster. “We said goodbye to a precious city where we both grew up and built our lives. Where our house was a home and we never thought we’d leave. We lived intensely in Alkmaar, but I also realize that ‘enjoying life intensely’ is in me and our family. We take it everywhere with us, wherever we are.”

I sometimes wonder: did we make the right choice?

It takes getting used to, a new life in a new place. Also for the daughters of Annemijn and Matthijs. “Three quarters of a year ago we made the choice to move. Of course, this affects all of us. The children have not asked for this move, but we do ask for all their flexibility. As a mother, it hurts to see that your children sometimes have a hard time. Of course I wonder if we have made the right choice. We try to guide and help the girls as best we can, but one thing is certain: it takes time. We are super proud of how they step back into a new world with confidence. Small steps are also steps.”

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No characteristic city center, but time for each other

Despite the exciting step, the family wouldn’t have missed it for anything. But the biggest difference between Alkmaar and the Achterhoek? Annemijn immediately knows an answer to that. ”The city center of Doetinchem may not be as characteristic as Alkmaar, but here everyone takes the time for each other and there is spontaneous chat in the supermarket. The Achterhoek nature has also stolen my heart. How cool is it that we just live here now? To experience this adventure together with my husband, children and in-laws feels like pure wealth. Where they are, I am at home.”

We are living our dream!

There is still a lot to do, but in between renovation plans the family enjoys the chores in the yard, mowing the fields, clearing the rubble and all other moments in the outdoors.” While my husband and father-in-law do odd jobs, my mother-in-law and I walk over the vegetable garden, the kids jump on the trampoline in their colorful overalls and the dogs run around the grounds. We are now really living our dream!”

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