"The Maasheggen is a nice showpiece for the Land van Cuijk"

Jaap Ceulemans

Jaap Ceulemans runs a sailing school, water sports company and group accommodation with 60 beds on the Kraaijenbergse Plassen in Cuijk, which are part of the Maasheggengebied. He is also active in the general board of the Regional Bureau of Tourism (RBT), is secretary of the Platform of Culture, Recreation and Tourism Cuijk (Cuijk Verrassend) and treasurer of the Surprising Countryside Cuijk.

Why are you proud of the Maasheggen?
The Maasheggen is a nice showpiece for the Land van Cuijk. I actually work too hard myself to enjoy it much. It would be nice if I could cycle through it sometime. I know people who vacation in the area here. I should do that too sometime. Then you get to know the area better and you can also sell it better. You have to go into the area to really experience it. It's very beautiful. Of course the Kraaijenbergse Plassen are not really Maasheggen, but you have a lot of beautiful pictures here. Those connect well with that. We can sail a little lap later, and I'll show you. On one side of the water you have recreation and on the other side nature. That's where the cattle walk, that's where the little islands are. Right in the back corner is pond 5, the bird pond. That is closed and that is a beautiful area to go for a walk...I don't do that enough either.

What does the area mean to you and your business?
This is a wetland area and of course that is important to us. Everything we use and rent out has a link to tranquility. A sailboat has no motor and the few motor boats we have don't sail fast. That is nicely in tune, in balance with nature. With the sailboats you can look for the edges of the water and navigate between islands. People come to our sailing school to learn to sail or they rent a boat. To practice or just enjoy sailing back and forth across the water, anchoring and jumping off the boat. We also have a group accommodation where we can accommodate up to 60 people. Those entertain themselves or do something from what we offer. For example, they can build a raft, go canoeing or, of course, like last summer, swim at the waterfront. They can make their own food here, or have it provided, and stay overnight. For example, we do school camps with changing programs. The other day the Merlet Cuijk was here and we did a cruise in the dark. Then we let the students use their senses of 'look around, try to get your bearings.' The first thing they always see then is the golden 'M' of the McDonalds, but then we sail hard around and then we ask again. The most challenging thing is being quiet and trying to listen. We turn that into a contest. The class that lasted the longest managed 1.5 minutes. And then they are very proud of themselves. Those are fun things. We also try to transfer some things. Learning to get along, respect each other.

What could be better in this area?
I think a lot of things are going well. I think that's the most important thing to say. On the other side we are getting the catering facility the Bungelaar there. That is important for the experience on the water. The Dommelsvoort water park is just not coming to fruition. That means a standstill and that is a shame. That is the most important thing for the Kraaijenbergse Plassen area, what will happen to it. Well or not, but at least clarity. I also think that here and there the cooperation can be sought better between different entrepreneurs. To organize things and promote things. There are already all kinds of platforms within the RBT that cooperate and share knowledge with each other. We are also still looking for a sustainable cooperation with the Centrummanagement. That would be nice for Cuijk. But as I said, a lot is already going well. I do hope that next year I will have more time to cycle through Maasheggen.




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