Seven Lips (translated from German) was founded in 1997 on 77 hectares of agricultural land and forests in the Altmark region of former East Germany. Although the cooperative is formally owned by the town of Poppau (Betzendorf), its founders managed to build a settlement “independent of pre-existing structures”.
The idea of creating this ecovillage arose in 1980 during the anti-nuclear resistance in Gorleben, where the village “Hüttendorf” der “Freien Republik Wendland” was organized on this occasion. Its existence lasted only 33 days, but inspired a number of people to create something similar, for a longer period. Similar ideas began to develop in the 1970s in the US and Denmark, which eventually led to the emergence of the Global Ecovillage Network in the 1990s – a new level of the old dream of living in harmony between man and nature. It was only in 1997 that the pioneers settled in what is today Sieben Linden. Since its foundation, the area of the settlement has increased from 25 to 80 hectares and has attracted more than 120 residents. Accommodation is organized in the form of small districts, consisting of straw and clay houses.
The ecovillage itself positions itself as an example of the development of an alternative and self-sufficient lifestyle. In addition to sociological and environmental aspects, such as the high degree of self-sufficiency within the village and the use of sustainable materials, the idea of ”community” is at the heart of the project. Residents follow democratic decision-making methods, in which the key idea is the desire for consensus. The motto of the settlement: “Unity in Diversity”.
According to a study by the University of Kassel, the carbon dioxide content of Sieben Linden is . The mass media regularly cover the activities of the ecovillage, which strives to fully meet its needs with its own resources. The flow of domestic and foreign tourists is a significant financial base of the village.
Within mini-communities, newcomers live in wagons (in Germany this is officially allowed). As soon as the opportunity arises, one large house is built on two floors with a small attic. The main construction technology is frame with insulation from straw blocks. To put such a house into operation, it was necessary to conduct tests on many parameters, including fire resistance and thermal conductivity. It is interesting that both parameters exceeded the official requirements. Thus, houses of this type received official permission to build in Germany.
Material relations within the settlement are built. Cleaning the territory, seminars, construction, growing vegetables, and so on is valued in money. The level of payment is determined by a specialized council, which is called upon to evaluate everything as objectively as possible.
Sieben Linden is an active member of GEN and has been involved in an increasing number of collaborative activities with other organizations over the past few years. Together, these projects demonstrate the possibility of an ecological way of life without compromising its quality in the context of Western society.