In the 1950’s, Gerard Rikkenberg founded the dairy farm in De Waal. He built it up cow by cow; every time he’d saved enough money, he bought a new cow. He literally had his hands full with this small (but growing) herd: back then, cows were still milked by hand.
Fortunately, he had a family with four children, including three sons. They helped out from a young age. These days, the Wagenmuseum has taken over the farm in De Waal (Museum Waelstee, www.cultuurmuseumtexel.nl), and it is definitely worth a visit.
In the 1960’s, the era of land exchanges and re-parcelling, the farm moved to De Staart, in Waalenburg polder. At the time, Waalenburg was still a real farmers’ polder with plenty of farms, quite unlike the nature reserve it has since become. At this location, Dirk, 1 of the 4 children, eventually stepped into his father’s shoes, initially together with his older brother Henk.
At De Staart, the farm got its first milking machine, in a milking parlour (herringbone set-up) where 12 cows could be milked at the same time. It was quite an improvement, allowing the farm to expand to 80-100 cows. Which worked out well, since Dirk and his wife Ria were blessed with four children as well. And in this generation too, the farming gene would prove strong.
If this generation were to have its chance to enjoy farm life, expansion was necessary. However, in Waalenburg polder this was impossible, because of the surrounding and growing nature reserve. That meant another move, this time to ‘Het Noorden’ polder. In 2010, the farm at De Staart was demolished.
Het Noorden polder
In 2008, the family bought Schorrenweg 39, also known as ‘Molenzicht’ (Mill View). In 2009, the cows followed, after a new barn and milking parlour were completed. A milking parlour (side-by-side setup) allowing 24 cows to be milked at the same time, another major step forward.
These days, Evert, the eldest son of Dirk and Ria, runs the dairy farm. With his family, he lives at the main farm. Dirk, after a brief switch to beef cattle at Noordwijk (Schorrenweg 12), has settled at Grietjeshoeve, where he shares the old front house with Ria. Corine, Dirk and Ria’s only daughter, lives in the actual farmhouse with her family. From 2017, Corine has been working on the farm fulltime as well.
The other children have chosen their own paths. Adriaan works for Farming, Contracting and Mechanisation Company Duinker and lives close to the farm in Oosterend. Willem Hendrik works for the Ministry of Finance in The Hague, where he lives with his girlfriend. They can still be found at the farm regularly, though: just visiting, or helping to chart a course for the farm.
Dairy Farm Texel
In 2018, the time had come for a new chapter: making fresh dairy products out of our own milk, for local hotels and restaurants, and for sale in our own store, sold under the name Zuivelboerderij Texel (Dairy Farm Texel). The store can be found at Schorrenweg 39, and you can check out our products and opening hours here (link).
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