Egel is the Dutch term for hedgehog, and if you grew up in a temperate climate, you might have seen one or two during your childhood. You might also have noticed that the population of hedgehogs has significantly declined over the past decade. Why is this a bad thing? Hedgehogs are insectivores and, as such, excellent allies in maintaining the balance of the garden ecosystem.
Opvang can be translated as shelter, so we’re talking about a shelter for hedgehogs located between the woodlands and dunes of the western boroughs of The Hague. If you’re taking a stroll through the picturesque Westduinpark (which you should do anyway!) and find yourself somewhere between Strandslag 5 and 8, take a short detour and go visit the Stichting Egelopvang Den Haag en omstreken. Currently, their doors are open every first Saturday of the month from 14:00 to 16:00. You can look at the hedgehogs, from babies to old ones, and inform yourself about injured wildlife in The Hague. Many of the hedgehogs are being helped or taken care of at the Egelopvang and later released into the wild again. I found the hedgehogs there incredibly cute, and the volunteers at the centre do an amazing job educating and informing people about the importance of caring for our planet.
The foundation is based on donations, and visitors can donate online or via a QR code at the centre. For more information, be sure to check out their website.