Hello, I’m Brant Himes and I currently live in La Verne, California with my wife and two kids. We met Reinier and his family when we lived in Kampen from September 2013 through May of 2014. At the time, our four-year old daughter started attending a Dutch elementary school, and Reinier’s son was in her class. Our families soon became friends, and we shared many special memories together. We lived in Kampen while I was conducting academic research for my doctoral dissertation on twentieth century Dutch and German intellectual history. In between trips to libraries in Kampen and in Amsterdam, my family thoroughly embraced our season of authentic Dutch living – bikes, trains, and all. Kampen holds such a unique place in Dutch history and culture, and its quiet, medieval streets are ripe for exploration and truly one-of-a-kind Dutch experiences. Traveling to the big cities and attractions are certainly interesting, but experiencing a village town like Kampen will help you shift from being an observer of culture to a participant – and that is where relationships and transformative experiences are born.
Having lived and traveled throughout the Netherlands and Europe for nine months, I have a keen sense for the needs and opportunities of the American traveler. My wife and I hosted several family members and friends from the United States while we lived in Kampen, and we always took the requisite trips into Amsterdam and other attractions – but each one commented that they enjoyed their time in Kampen the best. It was in Kampen that the pace of life slowed down enough to where they could feel comfortable getting on a bike and exploring the village. Strolling down brick-paved Oudestraat to buy fresh cheese, flowers, meats, and pastries, listening to the concert of bells playing from the bell tower, and stopping for a perfect cup of cappuccino or some gelato – this is what our visitors to the Netherlands most enjoyed. Add to this the opportunities for a local guide to explain the significance of the medieval gates which still adorn entrances to the city, or to take you to the still-working Kampen windmill – not to mention help in arranging outings to other gems in the eastern part of the country (like Giethoorn) – and you can truly have a vacation like no other: relaxing, fun, informative – and completely unique and grounded in Dutch culture and friendship.
My unique competence is based on my living in Kampen for nine months with my wife Jackie, our at-the-time four year old daughter Maddie, and two year old son Geoffrey. I currently live in beautiful Central Oregon, where I work as a professor for Los Angeles Pacific University (LAPU) teaching online courses in history, theology, ethics, and leadership. In 2015, I completed dual PhD degrees in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California and the Free University Amsterdam (VU), Netherlands. In addition to my work with LAPU, I serve as an affiliate faculty member for Kilns College here in Bend, Oregon, and I am managing editor for Resonance, a theological journal. With a growing number of friends and colleagues in the Netherlands, I want to be available to share my passion and knowledge of the country with others. Working together with Reinier, we can provide thoughtful advice and arrange unique experiences for your journey to the Netherlands!