"We love thinking up new ideas"

“KoeKroelen” means cows crawl and is the name of a company dreamed up by two sisters. Dianne and Anniek van Raalte are teaching youngsters about life on a farm – through play. In the following interview Dianne van Raalte explains how the project developed and what's behind the idea.

My sister and I live with our parents on a dairy farm in the Dutch province of Drenthe. There’s a lot going on here beyond caring for cows, but not many people know that. We want to change that! We want to show people – in a fun way – what it’s really like working with animals and living on a farm. We started out with young children.We thought up an entertaining, educational program for kids from the ages of five to 10. We developed a concept for our events and called it “KoeKroelen,” which means “cows crawl.” Children come and decorate a cake, then put on overalls and a traditional country headscarf and head into the cow barn, or to the pasture in the summer, to learn what cows eat and why they wear ear tags, for example. Then we explain how cows are milked, in the milking parlor, and how many packs of milk a cow can produce. We also ask whether the kids know where milk is stored later on. It’s also fun showing them the milk tank, where we explain that the milk is transported to DOC Kaas. A milk collection truck comes to the farm several times a week and takes the milk from the tank to the factory. We also use a set of educational materials from DOC Kaas, who do an amazing job by the way, to show how milk can be made into different products. Then, after the tour, the children can join one of six different activities from farmer’s golf to baking Dutch Poffert-jes, which are tiny pancakes. Parents also have a good time showing their children and friends what happens on a farm, so people often pick “KoeKroelen” for birthday parties, too.

“We children took care of the marketing, developed a logo, had the website professionally redesigned and designed a farm product for the participants.”

We’re really happy with our activities, even though we initially underestimated how much work it would be. We first posted our ideas for “KoeKroelen” on Facebook in January 2019. Our first report was viewed 12,000 times! We were amazed by that level of attention, just as we were by all the requests for kids’ parties while we were still getting everything ready! Our parents quickly converted a former cowshed into a spacious reception room with heating, a kitchen and bathrooms, while we daughters handled the marketing, developed a logo, got a professional to redesign the website, and designed a certificate for our visitors. We put brochures out in supermarkets in the Linde area. It was a lot of work for my sister and I in the first few months, especially as I was also finishing my training. We finally launched “KoeKroelen” in August 2019. The media responded really positively, and that spread the word even further. Today, we’re proud that “KoeKroelen” is a real company registered with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. We’re organized 50 parties since March 2019. We love being entrepreneurs and thinking up new ideas. We were surprised by the success of „KoeKroelen“ but it shows us that we‘re doing the right thing.“

In the calf barn: Dianne and Anniek van Raalte bring their visitors here, too.

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