This EDE will be held in the Netherlands; a small North Sea country located in Western Europe, just North of Belgium and West of Germany. The largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. Amsterdam is the country’s capital, while The Hague holds the Dutch seat of government and parliament. The port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe. The name Holland is also frequently and incorrectly used to refer informally to the whole of the country of the Netherlands.
“Netherlands” literally means “lower countries”, influenced by its low land and flat geography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding one metre above sea level. Most of the areas below sea level are man-made. Since the late 16th century, large areas (polders) have been reclaimed from the sea and lakes, amounting to nearly 17% of the country’s current land mass. With a population density of 505 people per km2 the Netherlands is a very densely populated country. Nevertheless, the Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products, after the United States. This is partly due to the fertility of the soil and the mild climate. The Netherlands has a long history of social tolerance and is generally regarded as a liberal country, having legalised abortion, prostitution and euthanasia, while maintaining a progressive drugs policy. In 2001, it became the world’s first country to legalise same-sex marriage.
The first twelve day’s we will stay at Ecovillage Bergen in the Netherlands. This ecovillage is situated in Bergen; a picturesque town where art, culture and nature come together. Bergen is located in the woods and near the beach of Bergen aan Zee. Within the center of Bergen a beautiful church with surrounding bars, restaurants and boutiques.
Deventer and Olst
The second part of the training will be held in the sustainability center De Groene Golf (‘the green wave’) in Deventer. This building is the main building of Transition Towns Netherlands, and is a project of Transition Town Deventer and its surroundings. It is a non-profit organization with a social mission. The Green Wave is an inspirational meeting place for creative people, do-ers, dreamers and pioneers. People who are looking for a sustainable way of life, with respect for each other and care for future generations and the Earth. It is situated nearby the Aardehuizen Olst.
The aardehuizen in Olst were inspired by Earthships of architect Michael Reynolds. The first Earthships date back to the ‘70s and have been tested thoroughly by use. Discarded materials and local building materials determine the buildings. An earthship is designed for off-grid living. Architect Michel Post of Orio Architecten has modified the design to meet Dutch conditions. (rains, temperature through the year and soil).12 of the buildings have tire walls – filled with rammed earth – supporting the roof. The other 11 buildings are built with straw walls with a wood frame supporting the roof. The roofs are slanted 9º to catch a maximum of sun in winter and very little sun in summer.
Deventer is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. Already around the year 800, there was an urban settlement on the river IJssel. In the Middle Ages the settlement grew into a full-fledged city. Its location on the river IJssel made it possible that the city could become an important trading center. As a prominent member of the medieval Hanseatic trade alliance the city experienced in the 14th and 15th centuries its “golden years. Deventer’s rich history has been very much preserved. There are just a few cities in the Netherlands that can show as many monuments as in Deventer. Moreover, almost all the monuments in the city have been beautifully restored in the last thirty years