Experience nature with all your senses!

EuroNatur and Crossbill Guides launch travel guide collaboration. In an interview, Dirk Hilbers reveals what inspires him and explains what ecotourism has to do with nature conservation.

Cork oaks

Extremadura in Spain is one of the most biodiverse cultural landscapes in Europe.

His first true love was Extremadura in Spain. Many others followed. Ecologist Dirk Hilbers passionately explores Europe's most beautiful natural and cultural landscapes. Driven by the desire to share his enthusiasm with others, the Dutchman publishes nature travel guides. Now the Crossbill Guides Foundation, which he founded, has launched a collaboration with EuroNatur-Service GmbH.


a man with binoculars in the nature

Dirk Hilbers likes it to be in nature.

© Crossbill Guides

What is it that motivates you to write nature travel guides?

I love being out in nature and one way to fully experience that, for me, is to relive nature trips when writing the travel guides and share my passion. To know something about an area deepens the experience. If people go out on holiday, all their senses are open. That’s the moment where you can step in, help people to connect with nature and explain why nature conservation is so important.

Your connection with EuroNatur goes back a long way. Can you tell us how it came about?

After I finished high school, I had the chance to work as a volunteer in Extremadura in Spain, where EuroNatur ran a nature conservation centre. When I was working there, I read a guidebook about the region again and again, which was the predecessor of the nature guide series that EuroNatur publishes now. This series in particular was one of the inspirations for me to start Crossbill Guides.

  • Crossbill Guides and EuroNatur

    Title of Crossill Guides Eastern Rhodopes

    The publisher of Crossbill Guides is the Crossbill Guides Foundation, a Netherlands-based non-profit foundation active in nature tourism and nature education at European level (more info online at crossbillguides.org). From autumn 2023, Crossbill Guides will also be available in German. In collaboration with EuroNatur, a series of nature travel guides to EuroNatur project areas is also planned. If you want to discover rare plants, birds and wildlife, experience Europe's most beautiful landscapes and at the same time understand their ecological importance, Crossbill Guides are the perfect choice. Crossbill Guides in English are available now from the EuroNatur-Service GmbH store at: euronatur-shop.com.

Is there a danger that ecotourism could bring new threats to nature?

There is a danger AND there is an opportunity. At Crossbill Guides we are all biologists, who have a good understanding of this balance. We ask local conservationists and local nature organisations for their expertise. We mention in our books more sustainable ways to travel, and explain what you can do to increase your positive impact by using local products. And of course, we do not mention places if they are too vulnerable. In this careful way, ecotourism offers great opportunities for environmental education as well as supporting a sustainable economy in Europe’s wildlife-rich rural areas.

What do you like about EuroNatur's approach and why is it good to join forces?

It is the bottom-up approach, working with local people, creating something within local communities, that serves nature as well as people. Your target areas are not well known to the general public, but they are very important. Together we can spread the messages of EuroNatur and Crossbill Guides to people that do not know us yet. We both want the same thing: to help save Europe’s beautiful nature.

Crossbill Guides is an expert in high-quality nature travel guides and EuroNatur has three decades of experience in European nature conservation. We are now bringing these qualities together to convey to people the value and beauty of Europe’s nature.

Gabriel Schwaderer Gabriel Schwaderer, EuroNatur Executive Director
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