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Ecovillages: Escapist, Idealist, Utopian…Or Are They?

Ecovillages are often perceived as some sort of escapist communities on the fringes of society. Some, however, appear to be quite successful in dispelling these stereotypes, such as Boekel community in the Netherlands. Dutch policy-makers are taking a leaf out of ecovillage Boekel’s book – the time for ecovillage practices to be replicated in the mainstream society has come!

Ecovillage Boekel is mentioned in a law!

The Dutch government has a law to support innovative, sustainable projects by allowing them to experiment outside the rules of our regular laws. Each year a dozen projects are approved for this law. If the experiment is successful, the regular laws are changed. We, Ecovillage Boekel, can experiment outside of the regular building code. We can build smaller homes, use second hand building materials and have smaller windows on the north side of our houses. And that is not the most important thing. Every minister in our government has heard about Ecovillage Boekel as an innovative, sustainable project. And they agreed!

Empowering People Program

Ecovillage Boekel has been selected from a list of 220 sustainable projects to receive more support from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment. Two top civil servants are supporting the development of our ecovillage with their knowledge and network. If interested; a link to Steven Wouda’s blog (from Management Participation) about Ecodorp Boekel regarding to the Empowering People Program is attached below.


Learning Circle about making the Netherlands more sustainable through ecovillages

The first meeting already provided 15 activities that sustainable organizations such as a Dutch bank Triodos, and governmental organizations will carry out. An employee of Triodos said: "I'd like to have you as a Triodos Project, what you do, includes everything that we stand for!" He said he would arrange a meeting with the manager of their Greenfund to talk about the finances needed to purchase the land.


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