Michaël (59) walks along the coast for the Food Bank: “If things go well for you, you also do something for someone else”

Bovenkerker Michaël Harlaar (59) starts this weekend with an almost 120 kilometer walk along the coast, from Hoek van Holland to Den Helder. He does this with a noble goal: to collect as much money as possible for Amstelveen’s food bank.

Charity was instilled in Michael at an early age. “I grew up in Amsterdam Pijp”, he says. “My parents have always done a lot of social work. In that family, I was brought up with the message ‘if things go well for you, you also do something for someone else’. Wealth does not come by itself. Although wealth is not just money, it is much more than that.”

Especially now because high energy prices more and more people are knocking on the door of the food bank, Michael didn’t have to think twice about which charity he wanted to support. “The volunteers want to serve more people. And possibly could buy things possibly It’s really hard for them at the moment,” Michael said.


For those who know Michaël, it is no surprise that he wants to sponsor the food bank with a sporting challenge. The Amstelvener has been running marathons for seven years and has previously participated in the Dam tot Damloop and the Amstel Gold Race for touring cyclists.

A trip to the beach is new to him, he says. Because the beach between Hoek van Holland and Den Helder does not run continuously, it has to go around in some places. “But I have a handy book. Then I can take routes through the interior,” he says. “I have to avoid ports anyway. And I also have to go around the lock at IJmuiden.”

In addition, he expects to build some extra meters at IJmuiden, he writes in a blog on his website donation page for the Food Bank Amstelveen. Because the water taxi does not run, it has to pass through the Tata Steel site on the east side, making its journey about three miles longer.

“I hope I get some good weather along the way”

Michael Harlaar

Walking along the Dutch coast is best known for Strandzesdaagse. The big difference is that that event is always held in the summer, and Michael runs his tour in the fall.

“I hope I get some good weather along the way”, says Michaël with a laugh. “Although I’ll go anyway. It doesn’t have to be sunny weather for me. As long as it’s dry so you don’t get a whole splash of rain on your tent.”

Regardless of the weather, Michaël expects his personal six-day beach trip to be a tough journey, covering around twenty kilometers each day, just like Beach Six Days participants. There is no lack of preparation: he regularly goes for long walks through the Amsterdamse Bos with his dog.

He is training for his upcoming beach trip without his pet. “She’s now twelve. I think she’ll handle it, but I don’t want to put it on her. I think ten to twelve kilometers is a little too much for her.”

Michael is sponsored by friends and acquaintances. His target amount is five hundred euros, but he secretly hopes for more. “I thought: I want to keep the amount low, let’s see what it will be. If it becomes more, I would like to. Ten thousand euros would be very nice.”

With his campaign, he hopes to create more awareness not only of poverty, but also of the food bank itself. And in addition to making progress, he also contributes financially: He does not need the energy subsidy he receives during these months, and therefore transfers it to the food bank. Because every euro counts, he says with a laugh: “If each of my followers pays in a euro, we’re already there. It’s that simple.”

The food bank is happy

Board member of the Amstelveen food bank Marja Ernste welcomes Michaël’s initiative. She says that financial contributions have always been important to the food bank, but that they can no longer do without it. “Yes, great!” Marja reacts to the action. We will also put it right on our Facebook page. Give a little, take a little.”

Wil je Michaël volgen tijdens zijn wandeltocht? Vanaf 12 november plaatst hij regelmatig updates op zijn social media.

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