Have you ever hugged a cow?! Probably not? You know those crazy Dutch people, in Holland everything is possible! In Dutch ‘cow cuddling’ or ‘cow hugging’ is called ‘koeknuffelen’.
There are a few specialized farms around The Netherlands that offer these kind of sessions. They actually select (based on character) and raise a part of their cows as extra human friendly. Really cool!
Wondering why someone would want to hug a cow? I guess everybody has their own reasons. For sure it is ‘something else’, a non-daily exciting experience, interacting with a large, friendly species. Very effective way to escape city life. It brings you very close to nature and it’s just a lot of fun! It can also help to build trust.
Cuddling with animals usually has a soothing and relaxing effect on people. The cows used for this kind of activity are fairly relaxed. They don’t bite as they eat grass with their tongue. They really seem to enjoy the stroking and touching by people. In the barn the cows also have a big automatic brush hanging on the wall, a bit like one at the car wash, which they like to use frequently, especially after giving birth. You know the Dachshund with the kitchen machine in The Secret Life of Pets?! The cows sometimes fight over the brush!
For me personally cow cuddling was already long on my to-do-list. When I was about 12-years-old I was a bit cow crazy actually. My whole teenager bed room was black and white and I collected cow stuff, from milk mugs to skirts. Hell, I even had a cow related nick name at the time! haha When my sister got married she gave me the ultimate present: a surprise cow cuddling session! Waaaahhhh!! Last weekend we finally went. So exciting!
On this beautiful Saturday morning we visited the milk farm ‘Kastanje Hoeve’ (Chestnut Farm) in Beets, in the middle of the province North Holland, the Netherlands. Ideally located 30 minutes north of Amsterdam and Schiphol airport, 15 minutes south of the city of Hoorn. Owners Gerard and Els are super friendly and have a true passion for their animals and farm. Nowadays Gerard runs the farm with his youngest son. Els manages the cow cuddling sessions. The milk is sold to FrieslandCampina.
The great thing about this farm is that it is very down to earth and doesn’t feel touristy or mass at all. The cows walk freely on the grassland, the interaction between animal and people is spontaneous and unique. Gerard and Els are very friendly and make you feel at home instantly. They travelled all around the world and speak English.
The cow cuddling tour was so much fun and informative! Els is a star, finding the right cows who are suitable and in the mood for a hug and making sure everything stays safe meanwhile. Sitting down in the grass with this big hairy cow, looking at you like “Who are you?”, was quite impressive, interesting, funny and exciting at the same time. Stroking the cow’s fur, head, etc. felt really cool. And of course you can make some funny selfies! As a bonus you get to hear them ruminating their food haha Absolutely the best gift ever!!
A cow cuddling tour at the Chestnut Farm in Beets takes about 2.5-3.5 hours and includes:
- Welcome with coffee/tea and something sweet
- Questionaire & information
- Tour around the farm
- Cow cuddling/hugging
- Painting (if you want)
- Drinks & snack
Tours can be customized and extended as you wish, for example with a lunch or BBQ. Each tour is exclusive, so only with the people of your own group. Groups can be anywhere between 2 up to 100 people, depending on the wishes. The farm offers boots and overcoats. The price is €25 per person.
For availability enquiries and bookings please contact the farm via firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone +31 299 40 34 87.
Folks living in the south, east or the middle of the Netherlands, you might like to go cow cuddling at Farm Noord Empe in Voorst.