Who has a spare room to let to cycling holiday-makers?
This was the advertisement Nel de Blécourt placed in the Arnhemse Koerier, a Dutch newspaper. She was looking for comfortable and affordable accommodations. In those days, these were pretty scarce: the choice was limited to an expensive hotel, a youth hostel or pitching your tent at a camping.
From 80 to more than 5000 Friends
Clearly, many people liked Nel’s idea and her add was answered by more than eighty people willing to let a room against a small fee. This was the beginning of a small network of guest addresses for cyclists and the birth of the Vrienden op de Fiets foundation. Nel made the foundation to what it is today: an (inter)national network of places to stay for sporty people. Since then, Vrienden op de Fiets has experienced a rapid growth. Despite that, the foundation has managed to retain the feel of the small-scale initiative that it used to be. Even now that there are more than 5000 guest addresses and 100000 Friends. Nel de Blécourt knew what she was doing in 1984! In the intervening decades, Vrienden op de Fiets has remained true to her ideal.
Nel de Blécourt passed away in November 2016 at the age of 85. Her memory is kept alive by Vrienden op de Fiets.