't IJsvogeltje

Mission statement
As with many passions, mine started very early and silently in life and especially very unnoticed. Growing up in the down town area of a medium sized town, Den Bosch in the Netherlands, my parents took me as often as possible to the forests area. Later on in my youth being a good catholic boyscout I discovered when undertaking these trips they were becoming more and more like little adventures. 

Going through high school these little adventures disappeared completely and nature was something only seen when there were trips organized by school. When pursuing a career as a lab technician at the University Medical Center (UMC) in Utrecht for some, fortunately short period, there were no adventures in nature at all.

 In the early 1980’s I noticed a small article in a local paper advertising for a survival course in the Belgian Ardennes. In the company of several friends I joined this course and soon discovered several things. Surviving nature in the sense of SEAL training by ex paratroopers being a civilian is only pretentious humbug to impress colleagues on boring office parties and has nothing to do with my idea of experiencing and respecting nature (being a part of it myself). On the other hand I found nature itself greeted me like a dear old long forgotten friend. With this experience I rediscovered the pleasure of hiking trips into the forests and especially into the mountains.

Since then I undertook numerous trips in different parts of the world but mainly in Europe with continuously changing groups. Looking back especially in the beginning period surprisingly the initiative was always mine. Every few months I had the urge to go back to the forests and find my peace sleeping under the stars. All day with nothing more on my mind than to enjoy the country and nothing more to worry about than a place to sleep, clear drinking water and something to eat.
The change in my career to all kinds of different management positions enhanced the need to leave the city and discover new frontiers. Or as a good friend and fellow hiker once said, this is pure therapy. That moment in the Belgian Ardennes, where all started, the idea to form this little association was born. The explanation for the T.W.V. can be found in this therapeutic aspect, it stands for ‘Therapeutische Wandel Vereniging’ in Dutch or in plain English ‘Therapeutic Hiking Association’. The other part of our name ‘IJsvogeltje’ comes from the surprisingly discovery of this little rare and colorful bird called the kingfisher. One member sighted it on an island in the river Ourthe near Sy - a very small town in the Belgian Ardennes. At first much doubted by the other members but when spotted admired by all. Because of this recurring story about this memorable day it seemed appropriate to use its name for our precious group of friends. 
A kingfisher

Over the years we grew into a selected group of 8 male friends who all share a hectic and demanding career and the need to undertake these hiking trips in each others company, always on the look for new experiences and challenges. Enjoying nature and expecting not much more than silence and beauty in the company of good friends. This brought us into different parts of the world as you can witness in the list of expeditions on our website.

If you have any suggestions for new trips feel free to share these with us:  
If you have plans off your own and need some advice please let us know, perhaps we can help you with our experiences in gaining a passion that will last your whole life through.

Pieter Duif
Founder and chairman of TWV Het IJsvogeltje