“This is normally the time when there is a lot of activity at Heumensoord. The construction of the camp would now be in full swing, with trucks driving back and forth from the barracks in Grave-Driehuis and Stroe-Garderen where all the equipment is located. I would have been living here for a month now. Yes, that’s how far it goes as a builder of Heumensoord: eleven months a year working on the camp, of which two months living on the spot. It is therefore no small thing that arises here: a real self-sufficient village where almost seven thousand people reside.
I am responsible for everything that comes with it: from applying for permits and contacts with suppliers to distributing the toilet paper and coordination with the municipality about combating the oak processionary caterpillar. Everything is focused on the needs of the walkers. They deliver the performance, we try to facilitate them in every possible way.
This year would be my eighth and last edition. When I look back at the highlights, that was the period 2015-2016. In September 2015, construction of the refugee camp for three thousand people started. Not much later, the camp had to be made suitable for athletes with a disability and supervisors of the Special Olympics National Games, which were organized in Nijmegen at the beginning of July 2016. My expertise came in handy for both purposes. Incidentally, I also got to know outside the Four Days Marches by building the Nijmegen refugee camp. I kept in mind that the camp might stay longer and that the soldiers might have to move elsewhere in Nijmegen during the Four Days Marches. During my exploration of possible alternative locations, I saw a lot of Nijmegen with my wife. What a nice city. I had imagined saying goodbye very differently.”
Adjutant Fred Bakker,
Construction supervisor of military Camp Heumensoord (since 2013).