Schloss Tempelhof, Germany

Schloss Tempelhof, Germany

Friendly Facts

Website: https://www.schloss-tempelhof.de/

100 adults 50 children
1 free school 10+ buildings
30 hectar land 10 years old

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Context

I volunteered in Schloss Tempelhof for 1 week from November 3rd – 9th 2019. This was part of an organised get-to-know-week, where I lived at the precinct with 4 other volunteers and worked in the kitchen or agriculture. I’ll describe how I experienced the community, while honoring the trust other people put into the conversations I’ve had. To give you a personal insight I have interviewed a lovely person.

Economy

On the land, they have build a Seminarhouse that is almost booked out until 2021. It is unique in the area and offer workshops and retreats. The weekly yoga class is also held there.

The agriculture provides the community and surrounding restaurants and shops with local, biological and organic food. They also use permaculture in some aspects. The kids from the community go to the free school. It has such a strong draw, that families from all over move to neighboring areas to send their kids to this school. Before they go to school they are in the Forestkindergarten, where they play in the forest that also belongs to one of the neighbors.

Some people work within the community, mostly in the above mentioned areas, but others work out side or in the next bigger city as well.



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Off Grid?

Around 70% of the food eaten in the community is produced by themselves and they’ll continue to raise that number. There’s also efforts to change the energy and heat production, but just like in agriculture the motivation isn’t to be off grid, but to create more environmental friendly solutions, than the ones are available now.

Consensus

For ten years the members decide over all developments in the village using a six level consensus method. A prepared proposal will be voted on following the six levels and the astonishing thing is, that just one veto is enough to stop any proposal. For a couple of years they’ve added the ‘veto +2’: If there is one veto the proposal will be discussed 6 weeks later. If the number of vetos at the second vote is at least 3, the proposal is blocked. If there is less vetos at the second vote, the proposal will be accepted, to prevent people blocking the development of the entire village out of personal feelings.

Resident Voice: Michael, how do you like the consensus system? It always depends what it is for. For example to decide the color of a door frame, with multiple options, we use the systemic consensus (option with the most votes is chosen). And I also think sociocratic voting is very interesting. for it work it is important to understand that a veto means, that something doesn’t work at all while seeing the bigger picture, but not from a personal angle, where you dislike something. I’ve noticed that this is especially hard for people my age [judging on looks this might be 35, but the passport says ~50] or older.

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My Experience

Since I’ve got here, every Person I’ve locked eyes with, smiled at me. I haven’t held my wallet or any keys in my hand for days. In the morning I wake up see the sun rising from the window, walk down to the canteen and grab a self made bread and a prepared coffee. There is a collection of current newspapers next to the garden grown apples.

After breakfast the 4 other volunteers and I decide whether to go into agriculture or into the kitchen. As city person I was curious to see the agriculture is like and for the first time in my life I planted salads, covered garlic with hay and freed parsnips from soil. The work made me appreciate my food much more and feeling the actual earth between my fingers was fantastic. Well also, not to brag but they let me drive the tractor in the parking lot which was amazing. I found out that chickens look like flat pancakes, when they are warming there eggs.

Could you see yourself to live at Schloss Tempelhof for ever? And also can you imagine to live outside a community structure in a ‘normal’ flat or house again?

Resident Voice

Michael has lived in Schloss Tempelhof since Winter 2010/11 and currently takes care of the fruit supply and works as a biology and chemistry learning companion [= teacher at a free school] . He is also a member of the social growth circle (decide who to invite to start the process of becoming a member), the water group, (how to face the climate change and water shortages) and the energy group (how to become more sustainable and autonomous). I interviewed him on November 8th, 2019.

How did you find schloss tempelhof, and what made you move here?

I was sitting in Portugal in front of trailer in a community called Valle Rodrigo and got an Email from some friends, saying that we should stop looking for a piece of land in Portugal to found a community, because there is one forming, with similar values and vision to what they had imagined, called Schloss Tempelhof. The location it is on now, was found, when one of the founders googled “village for sale”.

I had already been part of a community in Valle Rodrigo, but every time I asked for a vision or a goal they told me: “Micha, just relax. Drink a coffee, life is beautiful, why do you need a vision?”, but I need to know why I get up in the morning. In Schloss Tempelhof, there were clear vision and values. Among them are nonviolent communication, self-responsibility (I feel terrible, how did I manage that?, instead of, I feel terrible, it’s your fault), diversity and something along the lines of: you will find freedom if you respect the freedom of others. To me self-sufficiency is really important.

What has changed since you moved in?

The biggest thing that changed since then is the size. We started with around 10-15 craftspeople, then the first people moved in and we were up to 40 folks. The founding of the school changed a lot. It is really important that children are able to grow up inherently and the adults confront their traumas without projecting it on to their kids. After that the process started rolling and a parent school was founded as well. One of my highlights was also the training by Clinton Callahan in possibility management, they also lived here for ~2 years.

Currently there is a movement to become a trauma – aware community. That means, that if we are in conflict, it is not like my inner being has a problem with your inner being, but my self-defense mechanism has a problem with yours.[If you want to read more about this, I recommend this: resource….]

How was your inner development while your time here?

I’ve never been the person that wants to drive a sports car, or those activities to generate ‘normal’ status or worth. When I was 19, I got introduced to the possibility of living in a community, which was an answer to me on how to spend my time valuebly on this planet. Through that I grew as a person and found to myself, because the people surrounding us are our best mirrors and living in a community you’ll be confronted with yourself a lot. In the future I want to explore our inner desires as humans more, including the somatic, sexual and romantic side. I think there is a lot of healing necessary. There is an effort here to start this journey together with the Liebeskunstwerk in cooporation with another community, the ZEGG. Apart from this every couple of years we open a space called Community X.0 to answer the question on how to improve our communication and deepen our connections to improve the life quality of everybody.

Could you see yourself to live at Schloss Tempelhof for ever? And also can you imagine to live outside a community structure in a ‘normal’ flat or house again?

I can imagine everything. I can’t say if my gravestone is going to be here at Tempelhof, yet. I’m more of a pioneer, that likes to build things up. This is the 3rd community that I helped build. To start new I would need capital and I want to have share of what I helped build to decide more freely. I could see myself in another community and explore the somatic aspect more, but for me I’m overwhelmed by 150 people. If I would live in a ‘normal’ set up I think I would start to build a community with my neighbors straight away.

Would I want to live there?

At some stage I can see my self living at Schloss Tempelhof, but at the moment I’m not ready to settle down. Also to join you have to put up a contribution of 32.000€, which explains, why most people that have moved there are families and over 30 years old. I did hear, that especially for young people, that want to join, the contribution is a bit more flexible. In some cases wealthier members even gifted the money, which strengthens the bond in the community.

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