Erik en Gwen

About us

Gwen (1960, Iowa, USA) and Erik (1956, Emmen, The Netherlands)

In 2015 we fell immediately in love with The Wilbrinkshof. Our dream was a natural, green setting with lots of space, just like the landscapes of our youth in Iowa and Emmen. We took over the farm from the family Berendsen, who ran and cared for The Wilbrinkshof with love for over 100 years. We also found a place in the warm local community of the Wals, where 'noaberschap' (roughy meaning neighbors helping out neighbors) is still a valued practice.

Since 2016 we have been renovating and restoring the farm, with beautiful results. Neighbors, friends and family graciously help us out during weekends and vacations. Their efforts are rewarded with food and drink, and of course a beautiful view of the real Dutch countryside!

We feel privileged to be able to live at this unique historical property. We have both benefitted from a young age of the generosity and helping hand of others. As a result, we find it a natural thing to help others and to share this beautiful location and setting.

How two world travelers landed in the back corner of The Netherlands is a question we are happy to answer during your visit to our farm!


A unique historical country house in The Achterhoek

In 2016 Gwen and Erik gave up their existence in the center of the Dutch city of Utrecht for a life in the countryside in a historical country house. The house, grounds and working bakery are located in the province of Gelderland, 30 minutes’ drive from Arnhem in the Liemers (commonly referred to as The Achterhoek).

The farm is reached via a long private drive lined by 100-year old oak trees. You start to relax as soon as you enter the drive. Cast your eyes on the expansive views, trees and grounds where birds and various animals (squirrels and hedgehogs) and foraging wild deer are a regular occurrence.

The Wilbrinkshof is comprised of a country house (1867), a working restored bakery (1850) and a set of three large, connected barns. This location was actively farmed for over 600 years until circa 1980. Currently the farm maintains an organic vegetable garden and orchards.

Alongside the first guesthouse apartment, you may also book the Wilbrinkshof location for business meetings and outdoor events. Activities such as the national historical monument days also take place annually.

“That wide, spacious feeling begins right after I take the last exit off the highway. Once I turn into their long drive, I start to relax and enjoy myself.” Alexandra, visitor from Arnhem.

See Our Story

Environmental and social responsibility

Sustainability is something we take seriously at the Wilbrinkshof!

As part of the restoration process of our historical buildings, we invested substantially in energy saving techniques (think loads of insulation and double windows everywhere) and renewable energy. This has resulted in our receiving Energy Label A, the highest energy level rating in The Netherlands and unique for a historical building! All of our electricity is generated by 45 solar panels.

Our vegetable garden is organic and we buy local and organic products whenever possible. We use as little pesticides as possible, as do our neighbors; where necessary our pesticide use is organic based. We are also a proud sponsor ‘FabTeen’, a television program for and by teenage girls in Ghana focused on education and empowerment.