This is us!
Welcome to our blog site. We are Niels and Maaike, from the northern part of the Netherlands. We fell in love during a swim with our horses and have been together ever since.
Niels is a down to earth northerner ánd a dreamer, he is creative and very handy. When he is inspired anything can emerge from his hands, from furniture to unique axes, which we sometimes give away as a gift. He also loves playing computer games, working on Land Rovers and driving off-road. Every year Niels organises a tour especially for people who like to drive off-road. Together we mark the offroad trail together for several endurance competitions every year (long distance rides for horses).
Maaike is an active starter, always full of ideas and inspiration. She too is creative and likes to make nice things, like jewellery, wallets, an occasional funny animal or a colourful illustration. She enjoys the outside life, taking care of the animals on the farm and playing and riding with her horse Bailey.
Thorin, named after the king of dwarves from The Lord Of The Rings, who we call our travel sized shepherd, is our brave little chihuahua mix. On the farm he is a feisty little dog and the boss over the white shepherds. Indoors he is the most cute and cuddly dog you’ve ever seen.
We love to discover the world around us, nearby and further away. We enjoy being on the road, whether it’s only for an afternoon or for a few months. And we like to have a place where we feel at home, even when we travel. This brought us to traveling by camper van. Up till now we always borrowed one, and this was such a success that we wanted one of our own. And not only that, we wanted one we could stay in permanently! This is how our dream of living in a truck began. Big enough to live in and mobile enough to travel with. And of course 4x4, to enable us to also take the less traveled roads...
We started this blog because we are very passionate and enthusiastic about the adventure we took on. And we can’t wait to share it with the world. We find ourselves on unknown territory and are curious ourselves where this will lead. We would love for you to take the journey with us by following us in our blogs and videos on YouTube.
The Flying DutchMAN
The Flying DutchMAN is our soon to be home. It is a beautiful wooden construction on the 4x4 variation of the MAN Kat 1 truck. We bought her from Stephan Schmidt (orangeworks.de), manufacturer of expedition trucks in Germany, who built her with love and craftsmanship. The inside is still to be finished and we can’t wait to start building our home in it.
The MAN Kat 1 range includes high mobility tactical trucks with 4x4 (5 t), 6x6 (7 t), and 8x8 (10 t) configurations. They all stem from a West German Army staff requirement drawn up during the early 1960s. The main goal was to design a family of support trucks that could carry loads over rough terrain and could keep up with main battle tanks.
The first model produced was the 8x8 which production began in 1976. Production of the 4x4 and 6x6 variants followed a bit later.
The basic MAN Kat 1 truck with 4x4 configuration has a 5000 kg payload capacity.
All trucks share a modular design, with the steel forward control cab and many other components including a low torsion chassis frame, axles and suspension. The cab accommodates the driver and 2 passengers. Separated windscreens are designed for easier replacement, these are installed vertically in order to minimize light reflections. A roof hatch with a machine gun mount was fitted as standard. Optional equipment includes an armored cab. The MAN Kat 1 has a permanent all-wheel drive and are fitted with a winch.
The end result was a range of powerful multi-purpose trucks that are uncompromisingly military in appearance and function.
The vehicle is powered by an air-cooled 12.7-liter v8 Deutz engine, developing 270 horsepower. As a distinctive feature, the engine is located to the rear of the driver compartment instead of beneath it. This way, the total height could be kept below 2.9 m, which means the trucks can be transported on standard railway flatcars. The engine powers the front and rear axles via a torque converter, semi-automatic transmission and a transfer case. In the first batch Kat 1, these components form a single, special unit.