Portrait of the Dames

Three generations of hospitality

Geesje de Jonge started renting out rooms some time ago (even the rooms of her own children). In the beginning of the sixties, when tourism started to develop in Giethoorn, these types of initiatives were quite popular: taking pot luck as a guest and being a real part of the family. “Fanfare” (a film by the Dutch producer Bert Haanstra), which was set here in the fifties, increased Giethoorn’s attraction for tourism. Granddad De Jonge had a contracting firm and Grandma also wanted to run a business. There was a need for growth and Granddad started to expand. This was the first step from a Bed & Breakfast with cold running water to a Guesthouse with wash basins and hot and cold running water in every room. All the guests had supper with the family and Geesje entertained her guests – who came from all over the world – without speaking any foreign language and with only a few years of primary education.

The eldest daughter, Roelie de Jonge, soon realised that the hospitality business was rather fun, so she helped in the hotel and soon gained all the necessary diplomas. There were new innovations, a garden room, hotel rooms and a large terrace on the waterside were added when Roelie took over the business from her mother. She developed special multi-day arrangements for guests with boats, providing them with dinner, and accommodation; it marked a new era.

Her daughter Gabriella, although with a different surname, has worked in the hotel from a young age. She would sell regional products by the roadside, take guests out punting, and she helped in the kitchen. And as more or less expected, she studied Hotel Management in Leeuwarden. Because, as well as her passion for the most beautiful area in the Netherlands, she is also a passionate new media user, further training in that area in Amsterdam was a logical step. After working in marketing for a top-rank hotel, market leader in the domain of online hotel bookings, she exchanged the big city for the village adventure again! With new features, the addition of a herb garden, a mini marina, a new metamorphosis of the business, and the construction of an even larger terrace beside the water, the hotel is now at the start of a new phase with even more quality. Still with the same intimate atmosphere, of course, and with the emphasis on the natural environment.

To cut a long story short, the De Jonge Ladies are at the very roots of the business. The identity of the business is small scale, even if the company is ever expanding and, while acknowledging the cultural history of Giethoorn, its character is in line with the philosophy of the ladies: quality of life, pure food with fresh ingredients, comfort, characteristic regional hospitality and everything to ensure optimal enjoyment of leisure time or work. The Dames van de  Jonge is organising more, collaborating with many other parties such as the managers of the Society for the Preservation of Nature Reserves (Natuurmonumenten) and Forest Management Agency (Staatsbosbeheer), and the residents and entrepreneurs of the villages and heritage towns in the surrounding areas.