I’ve been a bit withdrawn recently. It felt like I needed a period of rest and reflection. I had to let go of old things before I could start working on something new with fresh energy. That ‘something new’ has arrived! Yesterday the lottery took place for the lots in the new nature inclusive, circular self-build neighborhood Olstergaard in the municipality of Olst-Wijhe, and to my great joy I was drawn for a lot !! And not only me, my dear neighbor Marloes has also been drawn. So finally, the time has come – a new adventure begins! Or does the adventure continue?
Marloes and I have been looking for a new place to live for over a year now. A place where we never have to leave – a permanent location for our Tiny Houses. Where we can grow our roots and I can create the permaculture edible garden that I have been dreaming of for so long.
We made several attempts in the last year and put a lot of energy into finding that place: contacted municipalities, responded to lots, registered with initiative groups on waiting lists. Eventually we chose Olstergaard as our new home to be, but fate also had to favor us in connection with the lottery. Luckily Lady Luck was on our side this time, we both have an (option on) a lot!
For a long time, I have had the feeling that one day I would move to the east of the country. I also always said to my good friend Monique: “If I buy land, it will be in the east”. I just didn’t think it would be that soon! I love the woods. When I’m driving through the country and see the sign “Welcome to the Veluwe”, my heart jumps every time. After being a North Hollander for 45 years, I need more peace, space and more trees. Moreover, the land prices here are extremely high and the self-build plots cannot be found. Yet it is quite a step for me to leave this region. I’ve lived here all my life and most of my family and friends live here. I still think Alkmaar is a great city. But I am also looking forward to living in a new area, with more nature and to really own my own land.
Olstergaard will be a very special neighborhood; I think it will be an example for the whole of the Netherlands. Nature inclusive, circular, energy neutral, a wonderful mix of self-build and social rental, and … Tiny Houses! I think it’s really cool that the municipality of Olst-Wijhe is developing this project, and even better, is developing it together with the residents. A residents’ group has been active for a year and a half to shape this plan together with the municipality. An entire roadmap has been compiled and oh how happy it makes me to read it! Every home must meet a minimum number of points in order to be labeled as nature-inclusive, such as the installation of birdhouses and bat boxes in facades and the construction of green roofs. The public green space will be indigenous and edible as much as possible. You are requested to submit a garden design for your own garden and there are guidelines for that based on permaculture.
“The basis for Olstergaard is balancing people and nature. The food landscape in Olstergaard offers space to live, food for people, but also food and living environment for animals and plants.”
How beautiful is that? That totally matches with who I am and what I believe in!
So, the adventure begins. The municipality expects that construction will start in April. Of course, Marloes and I only have to move our houses, so we can move in very quickly. Maybe as early as April or perhaps May; who knows? May would be beautifully symbolic, as by then I will have lived in Alkmaar for five years. But first things first. There’s a lot to be organised. A mortgage for the land –the first time in my life that I will be applying for a mortgage!
Applying for a permanent environmental permit will be a challenge with my house. After living in it for four and a half years, I know that my house functions very well as a full-fledged, safe, healthy home and that the insulation, for example, is sound. But the Building Decree takes little account of such small homes. Fortunately, I get help from Antti Hänninen, – the architect who also guided the Netherlands’ very first permanently licensed THOW through the environmental permit procedure. I am very happy with his help and am confident that it will all work out.
What I’m really looking forward to is creating a design for my edible permaculture vegetable, flower, herb and fruit garden. I can’t do that myself, so I need help with that too. I will start looking for someone who can help me with this. And, of course, I will blog about everything I experience! So, get ready for some informative, enthusiastic and inspiring blogs from Marjolein in het klein: on the path to Olstergaard! <3
Photocredits: Gemeente Olst-Wijhe and SVP Architectuur en Stedenbouw
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