Michaël (59) walks along the coast for the Food Bank: “If you’re doing well, you’re also doing something for someone else”

Bovenkerker Michaël Harlaar (59) starts next weekend with an almost 120 kilometer long 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 poured into Michael with the young spoon. “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 due to e.g high energy prices more and more people turn to the food bank, Michael didn’t have to think long about which charity he wanted to support. “The volunteers want to serve more people. And could buy things if necessary, possibly. It is really difficult for them at the moment,” says Michaël.


For those who know Michael, 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 Amsterdam Marathon (half marathon) and Dam tot Dam Classic and 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 is not continuous, it has to detour in some places. “But I have a handy book. Then I can take routes inside,” he says. “I have to avoid ports anyway. And I also have to go around the lock at IJmuiden.”

He also expects to build some extra meters at IJmuiden, he writes in a blog on his donation page for the Food Bank Amstelveen. Because the water taxi does not ply, it has to pass by the Tata Steel site on the east side, making the journey about five kilometers longer.

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

Michael Harlaar

Walking along the Dutch coast is best known for Beach Six Days. The big difference is that that event is always held in the summer, and Michael’s tour takes place in the fall.

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

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

He is training for his upcoming walk on the beach without his pet. “She’s twelve now. I think she’ll handle it, but I don’t want to do it to 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’s more, I’d like to. Ten thousand euros would be very nice.”

With his action, he hopes not only to draw more attention to poverty, but also to the Food Bank itself. He hopes that the Food Bank will become more popular and that people will take the initiative to donate more often. “I advise everyone who has, for example, the energy supplement to send it to the Food Bank,” says Michaël. For every euro counts, he adds with a laugh: “If each of my followers pays one euro, then 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 them. “Yes, great!” Mary reacts to the action. “We also immediately put it 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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