Sieben Linden is a community and a village.
All decisions regarding the property, provisions, structures etc. are made by the community. Thereby we have created a mini-society that partially functions in a different manner from the world outside of Sieben Linden: Mobile phones are not in use here, smoking is only permitted in the smoking area, there are no cars in the village and much more. We practice and live a sustainable, ecological lifestyle with honest, appreciative communication. As a village, Sieben Linden also has places to retreat to, and spaces where individuals can create and maintain their personal lives – everyone has their own living space, some smaller groups and families have their own kitchen. We plan to grow to 300 inhabitants, almost all of whom will live in houses. As of 2013, there are nine rather large, modern low-energy houses (mainly strawbale construction). However, most of our houses still need to be built, therefore there are currently almost 50 inhabited trailers. We do not have permission for more trailers and houses are expensive, therefore living space is limited. At the present rate, we are only creating living spaces for 6 to 15 people about every two years. Sieben Linden visitors – for whom there are plenty of opportunities, see website – may not immediately notice, due to the relaxed, bare-foot atmosphere, that our project is also a high standard construction project and that we are in need of substantial funding for our building projects. Self-sufficiency is a grand idealistic concept, but for our rather comfortable but still extremely ecological houses we often use technology that we cannot produce ourselves, and even for our rather modern lifestyles we need to buy in quite a lot. Furthermore, we have come to believe that we can contribute more to ecological change if we use modern methods to advertise our events and ideas and to accommodate guests, rather than if we spend all day on the fields or in the workshops in order to produce everything we need. Even though that would be somewhat amazing, too.
Sieben Linden is an example for how comfortable a sustainable lifestyle can be, and it is a test case for communal culture, with immense potential for personal development, research and insights. We ask you please not to come as surprise visitors – if you are interested then please see our website or contact our offices for more information on visiting opportunities.
Additional (maybe in some cases redundant) info:
The ecovillage Sieben Linden aims to provide a model for a future way of life, in which work, leisure, economy, ecology, urban and rural culture can find a balance. We are searching for the answers to the pressing issues of our time; looking for human-centred solutions in a place of creativity and learning. This model shows how humans can live more responsibly with nature.
Since 1997 the dream of a socio-ecological settlement became a reality near the small village of Poppau in the region Altmark, Germany. At the moment we own 82 hectares of land, which comprises forest, housing (of varying types), gardens and farmland. Our aim is to show that human communities need not exploit or destroy nature but can make a positive contribution towards environmental quality. When designing the settlement consideration was given to wild animals and their habitats. Also, the biodiversity of the land has been enhanced for example by changing a pine monoculture to a diverse mixed woodland and by gardening organically.
The ecovillage’s original idea was to divide it into “neighborhoods”, each with their own concepts and way of life. This ought to create the space for people with completely different ideals to co-exist. Our common goal is to question our habits of consumption: challenging the world-wide exploitation of humans, animals and the environment.
Creating specific neighborhoods has not yet happened – one neighborhood that made a big impact has dissolved again, and generally people tend to look to the big community rather than to “limit” themselfes to their neighbourhood communities. The mentioned neighbourhood was called “Club99”. Members were vegan and cultivated their food using draught horse power (without machinery) and shared economic resources. Between 2001-2003 Club99 built one of the first strawbale houses with planning permission in Germany. This was built completely by hand using only regional materials (timber, straw and clay) and recycled materials.
Other buildings, built by the large community, include “Strohpolis”, a strawbale-house, with more than 500 m² living space. It was finished in 2004 and houses shared flats and single apartements. With "Strohpolis" the legalization of strawbales for Germany was archived. Since that, 5 more strawbalehouses were built in Sieben Linden.
Many inhabitants of Sieben Linden still live in caravans. This will become the stepping stone for people to establish new neighbourhoods.
Sieben Linden has got its own water, and heat supply using wood and solar power. Electricty supply via photovoltaic systems is about 70% (average!), hot water for shower, heating and kitchen is also supplied by solar panels on every roof.
So far there is a seminar-centre, jewellery-shop, small publisher, artists, consulting and trades people; including an organic vegetable-grower and joiner. It is hoped that self employed craftsmen, artists, architects, body-therapists will find ways to earn a living in Sieben Linden. The main focus of the next few years will be building houses, establishing a new seminar centre, self-sufficiency and creating economically viable enterprises.
We are a “community of communities” in which the inhabitants support each other but where each person gets the space he or she needs. With all the differences we constantly try to appreciate our common ground. This diversity regularly leads to discussions and challenges, especially when it comes to the keeping of animals. A lot of time is devoted to social processes in our community and we aim to foster trust amongst everyone. Thus we experiment with different models of group interaction (forums, supervision, talking stick etc.).
The following give us direction in our everyday lives:
Ecology: Sustainable settlements and self-perpetuating economic structures which work on closed-systems of energy and material cycles, creation and maintenance of biodiversity and wildlife habitats and landscaping using permaculture techniques.
Construction: Environmentally friendly and progressive building methods creating energy-saving buildings and using self build techniques that allow for the creation of sensuous living-spaces that accommodate diverse lifestyles (families, singles, flat sharing, etc.),.
Social life: Linking home life with work, integrating individuality with the community, fostering responsibility through honesty, consensus-oriented communication and decision-making and communal responsibility for child care e.g. kindergarten in the woods.
Economy: Decentralised economy with maximized self-sufficiency and local exchange. The development of agriculture, artisan crafts and small businesses with appropriate technology generally. A centre with facilities for seminars, social events and medical services.
Local Region: Cooperation with surrounding villages leading to the development of a long-term village and regional development plan. This will look at neighbourhood co-operation, exchange of technical services as well as local trade, environmental protection, ecotourism, networking with regional development initiatives and the setting up of producer-consumer groups.
Global responsibility: engagement for a sustainable future in various areas: criticism and direct political action against war, world trade structures, intensive animal-farming or nuclear power etc and the development of a political movement for a sustainable way of life.
Culture: Celebration of traditional feasts (Easter, Pasque, Thanksgiving etc) and the organisation of cultural events not only for the village but also the region, encouraging meditation into daily life.