in Uncategorized

Spil Games company outing on Vlieland

View to the north of Vlieland

I spent the past couple of days on the Dutch island of Vlieland for a Spil Games company outing. I hadn’t been to this island in about 20 years and it was nice to come back here. The place had not changed much over the past 2 decades, something which is hard to imagine when you are used to the fast pace of life and constant changes in China. It’s a beautiful island with long white sandy beaches, high sandy dunes and even some forests on the island.

On the ferry close to Vlieland

Because cars are not allowed here, it is a very quiet place. The tourists that vacation here normally come here for the silence and the slow pace of life. Although I prefer life in the fast lane over a place where not much happens, I liked being on this island. It’s literally like being in a different world – but luckily a world where they have wifi!

Driving a speed boat around the ferry

The Spil Games team traveled by private ferry from Harlingen to the island, which took us about 2 hours over the Waddenzee. The weather was nice and we had a couple of beers during the ride over the sea. About half way 2 yellow rescue boats appeared on the horizon and quickly approached our ferry. It turned out they were there to make our ride more exciting: we could board the open speed boats and go for a fast ride over the waves. Pretty cool, especially after a couple of beers. Not everybody dared to go on the fast boats, so some of us, including myself, did the ride twice. Very cool and totally unexpected to do something like this.

On the Spil Games fast speed boat on the Waddenzee

Upon arrival on Vlieland my kids and dad where waiting in the harbor greet me. They had taken an earlier ferry and were staying in a hotel at the other side of the island. Nice to see them here! The whole Spil Games crew got bikes and we rode them to our hotel, the Seeduyn beach resort in the north of the island. I got a great room with beach & sea view and felt right at home. After putting my gadgets and passport in the safe we went down to the beach terrace for beers and for a short talk by Gregory about the program for the 3 days. After that we had a big dinner followed by drinks while watching the sunset.

Sunset at Strandhotel Seeduyn on Vlieland

I was a bit tired, because I hadn’t slept much the night before (Elaine got up very early because of jet lag), and went to bed around 11:30 PM. Most of the Spil Games crew decided to go to Vlieland’s village and have a couple more beers there. The next morning I heard that many hadn’t gone to bed until 4, and some had only hit the sack at 5:30! I saw some of the pictures and realized I had missed a great party. You can’t have it all…

The beach on Vlieland early in the morning before a long run

Anyway, I got up at 6 AM and seemed to be the only one awake in the hotel and maybe even on the whole island. I decided to go for a run. I had seen a map of the island the night before and found a nice route to run. I thought it would be about 10-12 km, a good distance to start the day. I started running along the beach, and after my GPS watch told me that I had run about 6 km I realized the route must be a bit longer than I had initially thought. I could either turn around or continue, and I chose the latter.

Close to where the Vliehors (a military area) began I took a path through the dunes to the other side of the island and from there I ran along the coast to the only village on the island. I passed by the hotel where my family was staying, but also there nobody seemed awake yet, so I crossed the island again back to the Spil Games hotel. When I was getting closer to the finish I noticed I would run about 20 km, so I decided to run another kilometer through the dunes and on the beach to make it a half marathon (21.1 km). The time wasn’t great (1 hr. 57 min), but considering the fact that a big part of it was on the beach and in the dunes it was not that bad either.

Nike+ GPS graph of my Vlieland half marathon run

After a big breakfast surrounded by tired and slightly hung over colleagues we had to choose whether we wanted a sports or a nature program. I had done enough sports already so went for the nature program. That was a good choice because we did some very cool things, especially in the morning. We took the Vliehorst Express, a modified truck with open air seats, over the beach to the Vliehors military base. There some F16 fighter planes were doing exercises that we could watch. The planes came in from over the North Sea, dived down over the island, fired at some tanks and then took off again over the sea. A fantastic sight from very nearby. After we got clearance from the tower we were allowed to drive over the Vliehors to the most western part of the island.

Fighter planes were bombing tanks on the Vliehors

The fighter planes were still coming in and two of them changed their course when they saw us and flew straight over our heads. Top Gun 2011! Very exciting to see these planes fly maybe 30-40 meters above you at full speed. I don’t think you will ever have this kind of opportunity in China – or in many other countries for that matter, Holland is quite liberal in every respect.

Texel in background

At the other end of the Vliehors we stopped to look at some seals that were swimming there. Some of them were really observing us, but none of them dared to come ashore. We were at the very end of the island, just a short distance from the island of Texel. It seemed like you could almost swim there, but the currents would likely take you out to sea, so not a very smart idea to try out. Next was a visit to the Strandjuttersmuseum, a small museum with items from stranded ships and other things that washed ashore over the years. Some pretty amazing things, but also some things I’d rather not see (e.g. the eyeballs of a sailor man – the rest of the body was buried)…


After a lunch at the hotel with my parents, wife and kids (they rode their bikes over to my hotel) it was time for a hike with a guide. Not as exciting as the morning program, but still quite interesting to hear stories about the island and its people. Around 3:30 pm the weather changed from sunny to rainy and windy, so we went back to the hotel. I then went for a swim in the cold (18 degrees Celsius) North Sea with 2 colleagueas. We were the only ones who dared to enter the sea it seemed. It was refreshing, but I was glad to take a hot shower afterward!

View to the north of Vlieland

After that there were two hours of management presentations, in which the Q2 results were discussed and some of Spil Games exciting plans for the future were revealed. For the first time also some non MT members were invited to tell something about their jobs (this time 3 people presented about how we do online marketing with SEO, SEA and game distribution). A good idea I think, Spil Games has gotten so big that many

Write a Comment


  1. Nice post about your time on Vlieland. I have never been there myself or at any other of the “waddeneilanden” for that matter. I definitely will go there for a short break some time soon. It’s lovely out there. Specially since there are no cars at Vlieland. My wife will love the peace and quiet there.