Spirits were high in Oostvoorne this week as Restaurant ‘Aan Zee’ took home the 2015 SUSTAINABILITY PRIZE. Having previously won awards for the concept and use of wild-harvested ingredients, restaurant entrepreneur Jan van Marion can now claim yet another accolade. He’s fairly bursting with pride. As well he should be. Fittingly-named jury chair Maurits Groen (‘Green’ in Dutch) paid Van Marion the following compliment: ‘This initiative is right on the money, ecologically speaking. He’s made every effort available. It shows tangible results, is inviting to the public and inspiring as well!’

‘Aan Zee’ has been in business only four years and yet already has so many prizes. It may all seem like a dream, but the restaurant is supported by a very clear vision. ‘Aan Zee’ was built using natural and sustainable materials. The necessary energy is generated by solar and wind power and the kitchen cooks using wood-burning stoves, meaning there is no connection to the municipal gas grid. The roof is equipped with solar panels and solar-powered boilers, while wind turbines rise adjacent to the restaurant. They use the sun and the wind to generate all the electricity the undertaking requires.

‘Aan Zee’ also features a low-temperature installation for climate control that extracts heat energy stored underground. In the summer, heat from the building is transferred to deep sub-soil layers; in the winter this heat is re-extracted for use. Waste water from the restaurant is purified using a specially-planted treatment pond and rain water is filtered through the sand dunes, so that no sewage connection is required either. Lighting is provided in the form of LED bulbs powered by the building’s green electricity from sun and wind.

The structure itself consists of a bar and restaurant portion, a kitchen and a storage area. The watchtower is quite popular with visitors and is clearly visible from the car park and farther afield. It provides a characteristic beacon for the restaurant, a symbol of the ‘new nature’ to be found at the edge of the former car beach and the shore of the Oostvoornse Meer. The view is truly breathtaking. And there’s also a spacious patio where  – weather permitting – guests  can enjoy a drink and a bite to eat.

The outdoor facilities consist of toilets, showers and sinks. There’s even a place to rinse off sports equipment such as bikes and kites. The kitchen, storage area and installations are located inside the dune itself, while the loading and receiving area is to the rear of the building. The restaurant is shaped by a wall of shipping containers at the back, which house the kitchen and storage spaces; a wooden partition that rises sinuously into the tower; and a tall wall made entirely of glass, offering a lovely view of the landscape.

Three accolades within four years: a record that won’t be broken any time soon. Especially since, if our predictions are correct, the next awards ceremony will once again find ‘Aan Zee’ standing in the winner’s circle. The restaurant is a beacon pulling visitors to Oostvoorne. Congratulations and well done!


That was the biggest news in Voorne and Putten this week. It’s been fairly quiet in these weeks of the tourism off-season. Those looking to score a good bargain on books or music can head to the fair, which will be held in the Welkomkerk. That’s the church located at Hoogvliet 23 in Rockanje. There you’ll find not only Dutch-language books on offer, but English and German literature as well. The event will be held from 10 am to 3 pm. Admission is free of charge, as is the coffee and tea. Once again, proceeds will go to benefit the Kinderen in de Knel charity.

Additional upcoming activities include the expositions ‘The Blue Painters’ Days (De Blauwe Schildersdagen)’ at Galerie Kunst in Uitvoering at Bernissedijk 24 in Zwartewaal, and in ‘’t Dijckhuis’, located at Dijckpotingen 10 in Vierpolders. For more information visit: www.dijckhuis.nl.