This year Vlierhof celebrated its 15th birthday. For a community this is already a relatively long and certainly eventful period. This year we decided together that we would make Vlierhof ‘eternal’, permanently for ever. An important factor in this is the transformation of Vlierhof’s property into a commons, a common good, which is not owned by anyone, but is available to all who subscribe to the vision.
More importantly, we have very motivated team, most of them in their thirties, with a long-term future ahead of them, who really want to live the vision. To truly set up a mini society in consciousness, love and solidarity. A team that wants to ensure a good standard in our services and that wants to create good conditions together so that everyone can stay here longer than in the past…
The first striking example of this is the systematic introduction of Sociocracy. Not only the consent principle, but the entire operational structure (as non-hierarchical as possible) with circles, double links and sociocratic elections.
Another example is the community intensive that we have planned this December where, using open space technology, community members will gather to work on community building and culture, cleaning and decluttering our common areas and generally spending time together as a community. We will offer each other our talents and qualities in our further process of closer cooperation and unity.
This will be followed by an NVC intensive under the guidance of Cecilia (www.gemma.be) in order to help us master non-violent communication and consistently apply it. To communicate not from judgment, but from mutual fulfillment of needs. We have just completed an 8-week cycle of body process work, core energetics with Belinda, in which we are becoming more and more open and visible to each other. An open and communicative life from the heart is a central theme in this. We have decided to continue another 8 week cycle in the new year.
Furthermore, we also had a wonderful training in ‘cultural emergence’, living together from the natural connection with ourselves, each other and nature. This under the enthusiastic guidance of Fred and Manu (https://www.newnaturalness.nu). There will be a sequel of this in the new year.
On top of all that there are the developments towards a new construction: where, until now, we were all volunteers without further legal status or mutual cohesion, we have now decided to organize ourselves as an ‘operational’ group that implements the vision, and to work together with the ownership construction, the commons.We are currently working towards setting up a Co-Partnership of the Vlierhof, a kind of ‘verbal cooperative (non-registered)association’ with contracts, based on the ideas of the chairman of the dutch ecovillage network Henri Mentink (newsletter Veerhuis) and Sensorica in Montreal, Cananda. This presentation and these slides explain how Sensorica works.
Please read this publication if you want to understand value in the the new commons economy further.
In between all this, our daily life continues. This year we had an increase of 30% in turnover compared to previous years, mainly due to our efforts to expand our B&B. In addition, there are always a lot of people who are interested in community life that visit, in addition to the 12 permanent residents we sometimes have 8 short-term volunteers,both locals as well as people from all over the world. Our long dining table is not always big enough to seat the sometimes more than 20 people eating.
Last but not least, we have had a few people who have come to live here in their pipo wagons or tiny houses, partly working on the Vlierhof and partly practice their own business, as an artist, therapist or otherwise. A development that we applaud as it brings us great creative impulses and some challenges regarding legallity.
You can maybe understand why it happens that the newsletter sometimes takes a bit longer…
Next to all of these developments, there is still so much to work on: optimizing the external communication, marketing, developing our own programs, networking, also locally, involving people actively in Vlierhof… We are thinking of setting up a ‘Vlierhof society’, as it were, that encompasses the wider circle of people involved in the Vlierhof movement and are also a part of the Vlierhof Co-Partnership. A membership system that allows more people to participate, collaborate and co-create on and with Vlierhof.