Relax! Cuddle with a cow!

Relax! Cuddle with a cow!

Why hug a tree when you can cuddle with a cow? Yes, that’s right, I said cuddle with a cow. This is an actual thing you can do in the Netherlands!

Why cuddle with a cow?

For one, cuddling can reduce your stress levels and improve your health, so says science. “Stimulating touch receptors under the skin can lower blood pressure and cortisol levels, effectively reducing stress,” says psychologist Matthew Hertenstein, PhD, director of the Touch and Emotion Lab at DePauw University.

There is even more good news. According to neurologist Shekar Raman, MD: “…it doesn’t matter if you’re the toucher or touchee. The more you connect with others — on even the smallest physical level — the happier you’ll be.”

Moreover, a cow’s body temperature is slightly higher than ours (39 degrees Celsius), while their heart rate is lower than ours, which, while lying against a cow, causes you to feel very relaxed.

Cow cuddling: wellness trend on the rise?

While the world still seems to be enthralled by goat yoga, cow cuddling (koeknuffelen in Dutch) is on the rise! It seems that the practice originated here in the Netherlands, which is not surprising considering the country is one of the world’s largest exporters of dairy products, and, therefore, home to a lot of cows. In fact, there were 1.693.385 dairy cows in the Netherlands in 2017, according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

All over the Netherlands, you can find farms that offer the cow cuddling experience. However, it is slowly spreading to the rest of Europe (Belgium, Switzerland) and even the US! Mountain Horse Farm in upstate New York offers a “Horse & Cow Experience”, which will set you back a staggering 300 USD for a 90-minute cow cuddling session for two people.

How does it work?

During a cow cuddling tour, you will slowly be introduced to the cows. Cows can be very friendly, but it’s important that the contact between human and cow is not forced. The people on the farm will know which cows are in the mood for a hug. And then the actual hugging and petting can commence!

If you are worried about messing up your clothes, you don’t have to be. Many farms offer the use of overalls and wellies.

Cow cuddling in Amsterdam

Luckily, cow cuddling sessions here in the Netherlands are a lot cheaper than in upstate New York. For instance, dairy farm “Kastanje Hoeve” in Beets, located a 30-minute drive from Amsterdam, offers a cow cuddling tour of 2,5 - 3,5 hours for 25 euros per person. This tour includes drinks and snacks, a tour of the farm and the actual cow cuddling. A plus? Kastanje Hoeve owners Gerard and Els speak English!

Cow cuddling at farm Noord Empe in Voorst

Have you ever cuddled with a cow? Would you want to? Let us know in the comment section below!

Manja van Kesteren


Manja van Kesteren

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Manja studied English and Creative & Professional Writing at the University of Wolverhampton in the UK. She has been working as a content editor and...

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