Sieben Linden

We awake on Sunday morning at Tramschule to discover there is a day-trip planned to Sieben Linden. It seems we have come full-circle and are now very close to that well known German eco-village that wouldn’t let us visit them “just so” after we left Hamburg.

So we managed to visit them in the end, if only for a day. I thought Sieben Linden deserved their own blog entry, so here it is.

Sunday is an open day, with guided tours and a cafe. A resident of the village gives a small group of us a tour in English. Eco-tourism in action. We walk around the village, see some of the buildings, hear some of the history and a little of the way life is structred here.

The village is that: a village, not a community. It is organised into neighborhoods who live together and build together, only not literally as all of the work is done by professionals, albeit from the village.

Something that surprises me is how capitalist their system is. They pay one another to grow food, to build houses, to babysit and teach their children… absolutely every interaction is seemingly monetarised. My mind is blown. I can’t imagine charging my friends, neighbours and community members to teach my children dance after school or look after my disabled mother, but this is what they do. I am starting to understand why they couldn’t have us come and work with them instead of paying, it would throw everything out of balance.

Fortunately, the Sunday cafe for visitors is not so capitalist, with a free donation system for the teas, coffee and amazing cake selection. Raw vegan cake – wow!

It’s a nice place and really beautiful. Some of the houses look really nice, they are surrounded by lovely contryside which includes some sacred spaces they are looking after. They are eating mostly their own food, using sustaiable energy and water systems and working on developing democratic ways of living together, while also educating others about what they are learning (for money, of course).

I can’t really explain what it is, but it feels like something is missing. Everything is so clean, like a film set or a model village. I’m grateful for the opportunity to visit, and especially to see Club 99, one of the neighbourhoods who are really going for it on the sustainability front. But actually a day feels like long enough. Although it is undoubtably very environmental, the politics of Sieben Linden seem very different to mine.

Apparently the European Transition Conference will be held here in  May, which seems very fitting.

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