In the aftermath of World War II, our family moved to a small property called “Le Colombié”. At the time, it belonged to a Belgian friend, Owi, who was considered our uncle. Arne Thies’s parents, Heinke and Karl Thies (both agricultural engineers), were “marginalized” before their time. With a lot of work and passion, they gradually made the lands of Colombié arable. The cultivation of vegetables and the breeding of horses thus became the main activities of the farm. The family later traveled to Africa several times due to the father’s commitment to aid development in African countries. However, Colombié has always remained the linchpin and permanent home of the family.
In 1990, Arne and Silke Thies took over the business after studying in Germany and living in Africa for two years as experts for various international organizations in the context of development aid. They restore with great care the houses of Colombié to create a business of rental of holiday cottages. Some lodgings still bear the name of old acquaintances: this is how the OWI lodge was named after Uncle William or “Graf” in homage to Mr. Graf, who lived there for many years.
You will find an impressive collection of photos and individual travel reports from the early years of Colombié by our relatives Christophe and Rut Baudert. This story brings the reader closer to the region and its exceptional inhabitants, like a guide.