Pearl of De Langstraat: De Rustende Jager

| Vittoria Roitero

On a beautiful sunny Thursday morning, I drive to my appointment at De Rustende Jager. This catering establishment has been a household name in the De Langstraat region for more than 100 years. For many it is the perfect stopping place during or after a visit to De Loonse en Drunense Duinen.

Despite the early hour, there are already quite a few people sitting on the terrace enjoying the morning sunshine. Even when I walk in through the conservatory, I find a number of early birds chatting over a fresh cup of coffee. What fun!

From the large conservatory I reach the original café and soon I meet owner Martijanne and her right hand Manon. I immediately ask them if it is always so busy at such an early hour. "Yes, we really are a meeting place. Various groups meet here weekly, or even several times a week. It sometimes seems like a community center" laughs Martijanne. "We also know many of our regular guests through and through. The ups and downs are shared with us, so we also have a social function."

We take a seat at a large table. My eye immediately catches a newspaper. "This is our menu," says Martijanne, "I saw it somewhere a while back and thought: I want that too. I flip through the paper for a moment and see that - in addition to drinks and lunch and dinner dishes - it also contains newspaper articles and photos. "It's a nice way to tell our guests a little about our facilities and at the same time explain the history of the family business" Manon adds. Very nice, and it fits perfectly into this ambiance.

I can't get through the paper in full right now so I get a paper to take home to read at my leisure at home and ask Martijanne for a condensed version of the family story. "In 1920, my great-grandparents Marie and Kees Klijn-de Bresser, my grandfather's parents, bought this café with living quarters on the edge of the dunes. After Kees' death, Marie ran the business with her daughter Toos and son-in-law Piet. None of the children of Toos and Piet were interested in taking over the business, whereupon niece Nelly Klijn decided in 1972 to continue the family business, together with her husband Jo Pijnenburg." As Martijanne raises all kinds of names and dates, I get a little lost. Fortunately, I realize I can reread it in the paper at home. "I often hung around here as Jo and Nelly's godson, always felt at home here. From the age of twelve I dreamed of one day being able to run the company, and that dream came true in 2021!" concludes Martijanne proudly. She beams, what a love and passion this woman has for the family business.

Meanwhile, Uncle Jo has walked in. I understand from Martijanne that he is still much the company involved; "We can count on his presence every day and he still dedicates himself with full devotion in all sorts of areas."

Martijanne explains that a lot has changed in recent years. Where 'De Rustende Jager' was once literally a resting point for hunters (and later military personnel), the company has grown into a fantastic attraction and base for (day) tourists and recreationists. "What we are also proud of is the Predicate Court Supplier which De Rustende Jager received in 2020" says Manon. This is indeed a wonderful appreciation. "The predicate hangs in a prominent place at the front of the building so everyone can see it".

In 1989, the idea of renting out bicycles was born. That turned out to be a success; "Today we have about 500 bicycles under our own management, and a bicycle mechanic on staff who makes sure the bicycles are well maintained and repaired if necessary" Martijanne tells me.

Manon proposes to give me a tour. We start at the meeting rooms on the second floor. "We have two meeting rooms. Often the meetings are combined with a walk or bike ride through De Loonse en Drunense Duinen and of course lunch and/or dinner. We completely customize the arrangements." Both rooms, the 'Duinzaal' and the 'Jachtzaal,' are magnificent and fully equipped. They can accommodate groups of up to about 25 people.

After the meeting rooms, we take a bicycle elevator down to the bicycle basement. I stare my eyes out. Rows full of bikes, in various shapes and sizes, are neatly arranged. I see (electric) mountain bikes, (electric) women's bikes, men's bikes, children's bikes, tandems, electric tricycles, electric duo bikes.... you name it. Do you want to go for a sporty round of "mud hopping" or would you rather relax a lap through nature? Will your child cycle by himself or do you prefer a bike seat on the back? Do you want to explore the surroundings on a tandem or with a pillion bike or tricycle? Make it up as you go, it's probably available for rent at De Rustende Jager. "If you rent a mountain bike from us, you have also immediately arranged the mandatory permit. And afterwards you can even take a shower here," says Manon. Gee, what a luxury.

We leave the bike cellar and walk to the terrace. Here, too, there is a favorite spot for everyone: in the sun, in the shade, under the canopy, among the trees, cozy "among the people" on the large terrace, or more anonymous and sheltered on the terrace on the side of the building. "We have about 500 chairs in total," Martijanne informs me. I note that this will require quite a bit of staff. "True, I have a great team that I am very happy with. The combination of permanent and flexible employees and the flexibility and commitment of these people makes that we get it done every day. Great huh?" once again I see an apethetic, beaming entrepreneur.

Manon takes me to a shed behind the building. "This is our ice cream parlor" she says as she opens the door for me. We step into a room with a soda fridge, a freezer and a soft-serve ice cream machine. At first glance, nothing special, were it not for the fact that there is a large "hatch" in the facade adjacent to the bike path towards Giersbergen. "Because of this, people don't even have to park their bikes to have a nice ice cream or bottle of soft drink with us. They can order from the bike path at the hatch and go straight through." See, that's thoughtful. That's enterprise!

And then it's already time to say goodbye. I could talk to these two driven ladies for hours more. It is clear to me that the family business De Rustende Jager is in good hands.

Would you like more information about De Rustende Jager? Click here.


Did you know that De Rustende Jager is also a Local Information Point?

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