After ten years, Boerderij Spa is still unique in its kind. This small-scale health resort in the Twente Nutter is surrounded by extensive meadows. Here, natural products are used according to the leather of specialist Paul Haslauer. Enjoying the country life at its best.
Text (& image): Angelique van Os | Photography: archive Farm Spa
The oven simmer softly, while fresh spelt bread rises slowly. Delicious smells flow into my nose and I stare dreamily to the outside. To the rolling grasslands of Twente, which turn twenty shades of green by the tepid rays of the sun. Thoughts wander into the background. After about half an hour the first action is over. “And, how does it feel,” says hostess Marinka Steggink. “The dry air from the bread oven that is released at 38 degrees is very good for your respiratory tract and promotes the salivary glands. I feel relaxed and at the same time my senses are on edge.
Together with her husband Frans and daughter Claudia, Marinka Boerderij Spa runs in the Twente Nutter, near the Springendal nature reserve. The authentic farmhouse has been in French family ownership since 1645. In the beautiful, sleek and yet warm reception area is a large table overlooking the beautiful garden with pond and the meadows behind it. Opposite the table are the stone plaquet-tes that indicate 1893. “This used to be the dividing wall between the living area of the house and the animal enclosure. Frans’ grandparents lived here for years and ran the dairy farm, followed by his parents. It was then empty for eleven years. We live a little further ourselves. We are pleased that with this concept we have been able to give the farm a new purpose”, says Marinka.
The Steggink couple stepped into this adventure ten years ago, when they realised that their three daughters were not interested in continuing the business. So they went in search of other possibilities. They got into conversation with entrepreneur Harold Droste of Droste’s Inn (Tubbergen). He was looking for rural locations to establish farm lodges. Last year, together with him, the beautiful landscape room was realized (see box). Furthermore, the organization PuurSpa franchisers searched for small-scale rural wellness. After some research, the Steggink family ended up in Salzburg, with the philosophy of Paul Haslauer. His treatments and products are based on centuries-old therapeutic treatment methods in which the power of nature, heat and water are central This is why the spark was passed on – also to daughter Claudia-.
In 2008 the dairy farm was transformed into a small-scale luxury spa after a major renovation. The setting is intimate and personal because there is only room for up to twelve people and the treatments are mainly in duo form. All equipment and products are related to Haslauer’s method of treatment.
For Frans there was one condition: he wanted to keep some cattle. After all, once a farmer, always a farmer. There are now beautiful Brandrode cattle behind the spa that enrich the ash landscape. This is the oldest breed in Twente. “These are French’ decorative cows”, Marinka jokingly says. “I have great respect for Frans for daring to take this step for the future of his family.
Meanwhile Marinka and Claudia are skilled guest ladies who deliver customization. The bread oven was just a foretaste, because the purification of the airways continues on the first floor in the ‘hay oven’. What initially looks like a metre-high wicker decoration, turns out to be two stews. “Sit down, with your back close to the railing. Soon the smell of alpine hay will be released by steam, which is good for your respiratory tract and stimulates the blood circulation”, says Marinka. My body is warmly tucked in with a white cloth. After only a few minutes a spicy cloud penetrates my airways. I stare languidly at the slow country life and take a nap. The twenty-five minutes fly by. Just cooling off in the garden. My stomach growls. Just at that moment the hostess brings me an organic regional dish. Without noticing it, the body works hard to purify all the waste products. That makes you hungry and it is important to drink a lot of water.
Then it’s time to ‘float’. I get a special clay gasket with elderflower seeds, which has a fine purifying effect. After being fully packed, I sink into a waterbed. The setting is reminiscent of a futuristic film, where you step into a sleeping cabin. As soon as it gets nice and warm and when I close my eyes I don’t hear anything about the slightly splashing water.
“I feel relaxed and at the same time my senses are on edge”.
Bath oven and rocking chair
On a full stomach, I walk upstairs after the hot lunch. In a corner there is a small sauna where the floor is covered with pine branches that stimulate the foot reflex zones. Opposite the wooden benches in the middle is a ‘bath oven’, with a copper kettle and basket above it. Fresh herbs such as rosemary are heated to a maximum of 55 degrees and are filled with silver spartans and pine cones. The lovely wooded fragrance flows into the room like a steam injection. What a beneficial experience. After a cool rain shower I move on to the dondolo. This is a rocking lounger that responds to every movement – even your breathing. Just not paying attention means that you are sitting almost at right angles in the chair. After five minutes, however, there is complete relaxation; I also want a chair like this at home! During the session Marinka brings delicious homemade ice cream. Frans produces five hundred (!) flavours for catering establishments and chefs.
Five hours later, it’s almost over. The climax follows with the power of the sealed earth. Marinka brings a saucer with five different coloured clays. “This used to be more precious than gold. The medicine man stamped the clay with his signet ring, so that customers were assured of the authenticity of the product. The colours and structures refer to the mineral content and each have a different effect. By applying the product, the dead skin cells are removed and the blood circulation is stimulated. When the skin is clean, the clay is drawn into the body to remove toxins from the inside. The better you massage, the better the effect.” Lubricate well in the clay oven. The warming steam infusions make the muddy clay moist and after a while a rain shower rinses off all the colours of my body. The last invigorating shower and a wonderfully fragrant Kurland oil from Mr. Haslauer, make sure that I can fully cope with the cold world again.
“Sealed earth used to be more precious than gold!”
Nothing beats holding on to that relaxed feeling for longer after such a relaxing spa day. That’s why it’s possible to sleep in one of the two farm lodges or in a farm room. The trump card is only a stone’s throw away; in the middle of the country between the cows, a beautiful landscape room has been in use since 2017. A collaboration with Harald Droste, who would like to have more similar rooms with regional farmers. This square cube is made entirely of glass, so that the accommodation is completely immersed in nature. Wooden panels provide privacy and shelter. The room is self-contained: with energy-generating solar panels, running water from a purified local well and warm comes from a private pallet stove. The Scandinavian interior is soberly chic: everything is made of green wood and supplemented with minimalist accessories. Dinner at home with regional products, prepared by restaurant De Pastorie (Ootmarsum), can be arranged by the Steggink family for you. With the stove on, you can swoon with the cows on the covered terrace or sink into a good book. Because here time stands still.
Package including overnight stay in the landscape room costs €199,- p.p. | More information: boerderijspa.nl