Travel diary: From Finland to the Netherlands

The first three days of the trip took George and his companions across Finland and Sweden.
George van Remoortele is driving his new Valtra tractor from the factory in Finland to his farm in the Netherlands. He is accompanied by his wife Emmy and two friends. This is his travel diary.
Friday, June 12
“We had a very good day and arrived at our first destination, Vasa, very quickly. It was a relaxed drive and a good way to enjoy the scenery. I even stopped by at the yard of a Finnish farmer to have a chat. Unfortunately he didn’t speak a word of English, so my attempts to communicate with him weren’t that successful. However, we did attract a lot of attention: everywhere people were taking pictures of us and the tractor. We are having a good time, after all it’s also a vacation. Tomorrow we are going to take the boat to Sweden, so it will be a quiet day. Sunday will be a proper travel day!”

Sunday, June 14
“It’s fantastic here. We boarded the ferry at half past five last night and arrived in Sweden at eight thirty. On the boat we met a driver who owns three Valtra tractors. He was very enthusiastic. Everyone comments that we’re doing something special, but I always say: I’d rather do this trip on a Valtra than on a bike! It’s really great. Last night we stayed near a gas station in Gräsmyr and at 8 am. Today everything’s been going very smoothly. We are getting a lot of positive reactions and many people honk at us. It is striking how clean the roads are up here. We are also enjoying the scenery and forests along the way. Today we drove 260km and finally arrived at our next stop Ragunda.''

Monday, June 15
“Today things didn’t go that smoothly. Fortunately it had nothing to do with the machine, the Valtra is running excellently. When we left Ragunda there were a lot of gravel roads. After a few hours it was time to refuel. The nearest gas station was out of order, so we decided to drive a little further. The next station didn’t except euros, which is very unusual. Luckily we brought a credit card. It wouldn’t work at first, either, but eventually we managed to pay for the fuel and continue our trip. Unfortunately the station was several dozen kilometers off the original route. In the end I drive drove a lot and we finally reached our destination for the day, Furudal. Time for an evening of rest.”

Tuesday, June 16
“Today we left Furudal for our next stage of 360 km. Fortunately it was a day without surprises. A lovely drive and we quickly arrived at our destination in Storfos. Here you notice how very vast and quiet Sweden is. It is great to come here to relax, but I wouldn’t want to move here: it would be too quiet for me. Tonight we visited friends of our travel companions, who emigrated to Sweden some time ago. There received a wonderful welcome and a delicious dinner.”

Wednesday, June 17
“Today we drove 250 km to Boras. It’s great to have a day off tomorrow. So we can just enjoy beautiful Sweden. We are ahead of schedule, so everything is going well. On Friday we set off to Denmark.”

Thursday, June 18
“Today we had a wonderful day off in Borsa, a nice town in Sweden. We went on an exploration tour in the centre, did some shopping, went for food and also stopped by at a terrace. We are further south here where it’s even tidier and the forests have made room for a more rural environment. It’s still great and all four of us are thoroughly enjoying ourselves.”

Friday, June 19
''We left Borsa for an easy trip to the border at 10 o’clock. It was a 110 km ride though on paper it should have been only 87. Actually this goes for the whole trip: we drove more miles than planned. But it doesn’t matter. The Valtra is going well and we expect to make it to the Netherlands, as long as we keep filling up diesel. Tonight we’re going to sleep on the ferry and arrive in Denmark on Saturday. The plan is then to leave around 9 am and drive 230km to the German border. We’ll keep you posted!”

Saturday, June 20
''The ferry was a lot of fun. There were many trucks and we had many chats with the Danish drivers. They thought that the tractor with its distinctive sign at the back looked very nice. There was also a Dutch couple on the ferry with whom we had a nice chat. All in all the crossing was entertaining. At four o’clock we arrived in Denmark (Greena) and continued our journey. After a long day we finally arrived in Germany.”

Sunday, June 21
''We started at 9 am and we’re trying to maintain the holiday spirit. Today has been a different way of driving than before. Long stretches of road without much to see. It was difficult to get hold of AdBlue at the petrol stations, something we hadn’t even considered possible. Luckily a mechanic’s company helped us out. When we arrived at the camping site, there were more difficulties as the owner didn’t allow the tractor on the site at first. In the end we came to an agreement.”

Monday, June 22
“A beautiful day to leave for the Netherlands. It is quite dry and after a little chat with a friendly farmer we set off. We are going to Eindhoven / Reusel and continue towards Belgium. There’s already been a couple of traffic jams. People have been very curious about the sign on the back of the tractor, so they have been taking their time driving behind us. The plan is to drive 250 kilometers today and to spend the night in the Netherlands!”

Tuesday, June 23
"We started out in Ootmarssum and eventually wound up in Schijndel. In the Netherlands, driving is really quite different. There’s activity everywhere and you have to pay a lot more attention. In particular, there are more rules and signs, so we’re not allowed to drive down every street. At the mini-campsite in Schijndel, we were very well received, as always. The reactions were heartwarming and we enjoyed delicious food."

Wednesday, June 24
Today, we entered Belgium. We often had to drive through towns, and passed through all kinds of centers. There was so much to see there, and we also drew attention ourselves. We reached our destination fast and it was also very easy-going. Yet again, we had a vacation feeling. The trip is almost coming to an end..."

Thursday, June 25
"Today is a crazy day. The last day of driving and finally coming home safely. As it turned out, back home they were already busy organizing a party. We were actually a little too fast, and in the end we had to wait an hour because the preparations weren’t fully completed. At 3:00 pm, we got the green light and finally drove into Koewacht."

The days afterward really flew by. It was a wonderful trip and it was great fun to notice the differences in each country. For example, in the Netherlands there are barriers everywhere, but I can say I love the Netherlands! It’s a beautiful country and there’s activity everywhere. Take the Overijssel province. Activity is everywhere and you can enjoy the beautiful views. It was a fantastic experience and the Valtra also drives perfectly. Thanks to our friends, we were able to have a carefree journey.

Further reading

From Finland to the Netherlands by tractor

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