Come enjoy!

You can expect the next newsletter with the developments at The Oak some time at the end of June or beginning of July. And because The Oak has something to announce that will already be over by then, you’ll now receive an interim tiny newsletter! 🙂

Because… the non-profit organisation Robur at The Oak organizes a modest but very authentic and accessible benefit weekend (page only in Dutch)! Quickly go to the link, feel the anticipation and register, so that we know how much food, drinks and seats we should provide!
You can also go here for any questions.

And keep an eye on the page of the benefit weekend, because there might just be a little extra…


Back on track again!

What a blessing it is to be able to count on so many helping hands in this project! How supported is it!

Outdoor infrastructure

This became apparent again in the weekend of March 28, when ten old and new friends joined forces to prepare the outdoor infrastructure for the new construction and volunteers season.

The acclaimed Lazy Lounge was professionally (and as level as possible!) rebuilt and furniture was moved from Robur to the lounge. Ready to be a cozy place for the volunteers for the rest of the year!
The big tarp at the Technical Toko was put up again, including the Smokers’ Space, for the unrepentant ones among us. 🙂

The reconstruction of the Kosher Kitchen was a big job, just like the next phase in the construction of the roof above this gorgeous outdoor kitchen.
It took me a few more days to put the kitchen gear back in place, but I was more than happy that the younger generations had already done all the heavy lifting and cleaning – with many thanks! 🙂

Tree caretaker Sam cut down three dead pines. Their wood can at least partially still serve for the further construction of the outdoor kitchen roof and other things!

On April 5, the first day of our Tadelakt Atelier, a film crew (director, assistant director, cameraman, etc.) made extensive practical arrangements for filming a few scenes for a Flemish full-length film. If all goes well, the recordings will take place on May 6, with preparations on May 3. To be clear: Robur will not come into the picture, but a part of the outdoor infrastructure will.


It yields a nice feeling that more and more people are discovering The Oak. Occasionally they’ll even get in touch to ask if Robur is available yet! And yes, depending on what the purpose is, sometimes he already is.

And then there was the Tadelakt Workshop…

… from 5 to 7 April. I let the images speak, also in the form of short slide shows and a few videos.
The shower is being worked on here:

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In the meantime, Wolf is applying a different process to the wash basins in the bathrooms and bedrooms…

… and in the kitchen…

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Also the work on the mirror mosaics continued:

Both during the ‘reconstruction weekend’ and the Tadelakt Workshop, friends enthusiastically took care of the hungry and eager stomachs. And we were lucky with the weather, on both weekends!

And what’s next?

The first international volunteers will arrive from 23 April on, then we’ll start again for real! In the coming months we’ll finish all so we can plaster without any problems in the first two weeks of August. Perhaps we’ll do that in the form of a Workshop; in that case it will be announced in the Calendar. The finishing of the floor is planned for some time in October – also a Workshop?
In the meantime I’m busy requesting offers for the green roof. So something is moving at that height, too!

On 1 May, the unbelievably sympathetic team of the “30 days without complaining” campaign will celebrate and seal the closing day of “Choose Positively – more days without complaining” (and here you’ll find Robur at The Oak as a charity on their website) with a day of volunteering at The Oak. Sign up with me or with them and come join us!

The caregivers who consider including Robur at The Oak in their activities and sessions as soon as Robur is available are welcome on May 11 between 10.30 am and 12.30 pm for an open-house moment and some brainstorming with me and their colleagues about the possibilities of this place.

And a friend-musician is going to give a benefit concert with another friend-musician at The Oak! Keep the (probable) date free: June 22! As soon as there is more information, this activity will also appear in the Calendar.

And so…

… you’ve been updated again with the ins and outs of The Oak. Heartfelt Thank You for your indispensable support!
If you want to come and have a look (and possibly participate), don’t wait too long – because if everything goes well, this will be the last year that you can ‘just’ come to The Oak…

Robur at The Oak wishes you all a Happy Easter!


Winter Oak Work :-)

Hurray, the website of Robur at The Oak has been updated!

That is, just the Flemish/Dutch version for now. It’s much more work than you’d think, so the English version will be adjusted this year, depending on the time available. (Non-Flemish/Dutch speaking followers can temporarily let Google Translate do the trick on the Dutch version. – At your own risk. :-)).

Take a curious look at the (Flemish) website, and find answers in the “Frequently Asked Questions“.
Do you still have an unanswered question? Let us know!


And The Oak launched a campaign…

… which he would like to bring to your attention.
After all, it’s well possible that the completion of the entire project depends on the success of:

CAMPAIGN 1 euro for Robur

Become the key to completing Robur!
You don’t feel it, but for the project it means a lot!

– make a standing order of a monthly micro amount (1 to 5 euros) for the non-profit organization Robur at The Oak. You won’t feel 12 euros a year!
———————— Robur op Den Eik vzw
———————— IBAN: BE82 5230 8087 7968
———————— BIC / SWIFT: TRIOBEBB (Triodos Bank)
———————— Mention: Campaign 1 euro for Robur
– inspire at least three friends to do the same
– spread this campaign far and wide
– and discover through the Newsletter (or a visit) how much impact your small gesture has!

The impact of this big small Campaign depends entirely on how many people participate in it. So, personally speaking to your family, friends and acquaintances is the key to its success!
Anyway, Robur at The Oak is always happy and grateful with all current and future support!


Another winter track!

image003_robursdoelThe non-profit organization has set up a letter specifically aimed at care providers in the healthcare sector: psychiatrists, psychologists, general practitioners, therapists, coaches — in short, those people that are most likely treating people with an (upcoming) burnout. The letter invites to a possible far-reaching collaboration with Robur at The Oak. It can be found on the website, and can be freely downloaded and shared with your own GP, coach, therapist, and acquaintances and friends in the healthcare sector who are involved in the prevention of burnout and the support of people with burnout.
NOTE: This letter only exists in Flemish/Dutch. Let us know if you want an English version!

Helping with this means some essential help for the growth and further development of Robur at The Oak! Many thanks!


And for those who like to learn to build ecologically…

… there is the Workshop Tadelakt, from 5 through 7 April. Wolf Jordan and Marieke have already started the preparations. Be quick if you really want to participate, space is limited! You can also choose to come for only one or two days – well, all the information is available now, quickly check it out!
If you take part, you not only learn a very interesting and ancient technique under an inspired guide, but you also help Robur and the non-profit organization — profound thanks!

Dived into the new year

Dear friends and other sympathizers, let’s start right away with the progress of Robur, because the previous real update dates back to October 12…

October 30 was a milestone: for the first time there was ‘automatically’ hot water, heated by the heat pump, and it came out of the tap of Robur’s outdoor shower! As there was a piece missing that didn’t arrive on the spot immediately, the outdoor shower (with a provisional shower cabin) was only put into use at the end of November. Better late than never!

In November, Faramir (FOG) continued to work on the kitchen furniture and Getena‘s sympathetic professionals came and measured the kitchen counter. Two weeks later the placement followed, so that the kitchen already looked like a kitchen at the Ecobuilders Open House Days.
Fantastic! It’s SO beautiful… Kitchen furniture made of the trees that stood here, with a natural stone top…

01b keukenkast

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Also the sink cabinets in the bedrooms and bathroom grew organically and at the beginning of December they received their stone tops, with the washbasins from petrified wood that’s millions of years old. What a special, ancient energy… a pure and purifying blessing…

We filled up some more tiny holes and spaces with hempcrete until we ran out of lime (the very last parts are for after winter). The mosaic work also continued to grow. This spring it will be finished, so that the plastering can really start.

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The pieces of open wall on top of the mezzanine got closed, thanks to the sympathetic help of Pascal, who lives nomadic just like me and likes the project.

There was a lot of interest for the Ecobuilders Open House Days. Wolf Jordan was available throughout the weekend for an ever passionate explanation about history, use and characteristics of hempcrete, lime plaster and lime paints.
(Photos: Courtesy of Anne Martine Humblet)

In December, time and energy went mainly into getting The Oak ready for winter – a gigantic work: almost all of the outdoor infrastructure was dismantled and stored in Robur.
This outdoor infrastructure will all be built up again from Fri. 29 to Sun. 31 March, probably for the last year. I’ll be very happy with your help, because there won’t be any volunteers yet. Once you are sure that you want and can come and help, let me know, that works reassuringly. 🙂 Thanks a lot!

In the coming year, too, much time will be spent on cleaning the woodwork that hasn’t been sufficiently protected during hempcreting. The fine nutrient lime that we use enters deep into every pore of the wood, also where this was not intended. Numerous volunteers have been cleaning ‘in between’ the last few months to get it out of the wood, and it’s not at all finished yet!

The networking moments provide surprising contacts, including some care providers (doctors, coaches, etc.) who are open to support and cooperate in one way or another, and as a large immediate gift: a physiotherapist with a company that develops ergonomic sleep systems will donate custom made beds for Robur! After all, people with burnout need a good night’s sleep. Pascal Mannekens wants to take care of this with Bedking-Ergopolis.

And that’s how I end up at the end of the overview. While The Oak and thus the physical work is in hibernation, the virtual work is stepping up a gear: updating the website as well as possible (comments, help and tips always welcome!), preparing the General Assembly of the non-profit organization, making the project known a bit more in the caretaking sector and among artists / writers, preparing the works of the coming construction season (including lighting and green roof), finding financial means (every little bit helps!), organizing the Workshop Tadelakt taking place at the beginning of April, following up on the volunteers’ applications, and yes, keeping myself going as well.

With your help I can! 🙂

01 grote oranje bekerpaddenstoel

A Workshop Tadelakt in Robur!

For those who were waiting for it: the time has come, we know when the Workshop Tadelakt in Robur will take place! Not everything is fixed yet, but those who don’t want to miss it will find all the information here! The info will be updated the next weeks/months.

And at the beginning of the new year you can expect the next extensive Newsletter, with everything that has come about in and around Robur at The Oak the last months of 2018…

Golden volunteers, and some more wealth

So much, so much has happened, the past months – so much that again I didn’t have time for a newsletter. Thank you for your patience! 🙂 You will be rewarded with lots of photos…

Golden volunteers

Since April, there have continuously been three to eleven volunteers at The Oak from all over the world. I myself am the only permanent volunteer, the rest usually stays between one and five weeks. In addition to being a big energy eater, the organising of all the volunteering is also an invaluable blessing. Without my volunteers, NO Robur, and you can take that very literally! I am very grateful to them and the Friendly Universe (and its internet :-)) that all this is possible!

A few calls, a festival in Camping De Lilse Bergen, close by, and look: enough tents, air mattresses, sleeping bags, sheets and regular mattresses, even a bunk bed and slatted bases for the many volunteers, from Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Singapore, France, England, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Canada, Ireland, Israel … I can’t travel myself, but instead the whole world comes to The Oak, and that is very special! I find it even more special that all those volunteers, who constantly come and go, almost always form a very beautiful, close-knit group with a blissful energy.
That really keeps me going, it protects me, as it were, from getting a burnout…

Just like the people who want to drive with me when I have to get groceries. Or who offer to help in many other ways. Or even just give me things, really things for myself, such as a visit to the osteopath or a pedicure that comes at your house…
Then you can’t help but feel happy and supported and grateful, right? And know that what you’re doing is right, right now in your life…



It strikes me that there are more and more visitors coming to The Oak, beloved acquaintances and noble strangers. The beautiful article in the Gazet van Antwerpen (big Antwerp newspaper) on July 31 also helped, but not quite that much. It’s something that grows slowly, as it should.

-2018-07-31 Artikel in Gazet van Antwerpen

You are always welcome to have a look, it’s a matter of setting a date!

Most striking milestones

8/17, Robur is closed!

9/3, there is internet now!

9/4, FOG places the interior doors, made from the rough pine that stood on the spot where Robur is now!

-f07 - ROBUR - de binnendeuren

9/15, the heat pump works, Robur is heated!
In between also some plumbing and electricity works

9/16, the mosaics are applied! (That is now almost finished…)


9/20, FOG finishes the outer shell!

-f001 - ROBUR - Faramir werkt berghokken af

9/28, starting the rendering, of course with a natural lime plaster! (That will continue for a while…)

10/9, FOG starts with the kitchen unit!

And here some more creative details (also still continuing!)…

In short, Robur is becoming more and more readier! 🙂

The financial side

I need advice, tips and above all a lot of time (which I don’t have) to distribute information about the project and at the same time ask for financial support. To have a temporary account number at the King Baudouin Foundation is one thing, but to receive donations is another… Since June, three donations have been received. Also hardly any donations come in on the account of the non-profit organisation itself. People seem to think that a small amount is not worthwhile, or is shameful… But if a lot of people give a small amount, the project comes a long way! And by the way, a euro is a euro, hey, that’s also money…
So, just a few gifts. Yet I keep getting the resources that are needed at any given time. E.g., after half a year the promised subsidy for the heat pump finally arrived – just in time to pay a few large bills…
The request as ‘charity’ for The Warmest Week has not been granted, but I am sure there is a good reason for that, so I am very thankful anyway!
If you want to make a financial contribution to the project, you will find many ways via the Support page on the website!


I have also started to attend networking events on Nature and Health / burnout, to make Robur at The Oak better known to psychiatrists and other doctors, psychologists, therapists, coaches and other health workers / caregivers. After all, they will be the people to work with as soon as Robur is finished!

And of course there are also the artists and writers! But they will naturally find their way to The Oak… 🙂 In December I’ll attend the annual VAV Work Congress again (VAV = Flemish Authors Association).

So you’re completely updated again – and the fall has come at The Oak…

-f200 - de herfst breekt aan

Project account opened at the King Baudouin Foundation!!!

HURRAY! For all those who want to donate to this charity, and would like to receive a tax deduction (for donations as from 40 euros): the time is now, the King Baudouin Foundation has granted the project Robur at The Oak a temporary project account!

The King Baudouin Foundation supports this project. All gifts made to the Foundation are tax deductible as from 40 € (art. 145/33 WIB)”

Please make your donation to the project account L83056, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation on King Baudouin Foundation’s account BE10 0000 0000 0404, BIC: BPOTBEB1 with following reference: 128/3056/00043.

Important: donations via the KBF can only serve to finish the building, not for operating the not-for-profit organization! If you want to support the organization’s operation, you can go to the organization’s own bank account, see under “I want to help” > “Support”.

After all, a lot of financial resources are still needed for the logistics around the building; especially the FOOD for the many volunteers is a big concern for me. Every week I need around 100 to 150 euros to feed all those mouths. However, this cannot be done through the project account at the King Baudouin Foundation, it can only be done through the charity’s own account number, IBAN: BE82 5230 8087 7968, BIC / SWIFT: TRIOBEBB, or via the website (see under “English” > “I want to help”> “Support “).

In the past year, there have not been many donations (yet). This is partly because I do not have the time to target people, companies and organizations. I’m mainly building Robur – with everything that comes with it – and making sure that whoever helps can experience an unforgettable time.

And until now there has always been enough, construction continues! The project apparently always gets all it needs at the right time. And I trust that things continue like that; so if you feel called to support, with or without the possibility of a tax deduction, do not hold back, it is probably ‘the right time’… THANK YOU, on behalf of the project and all the volunteers!
And come over and have a look at (and think along with!) what happens to your donation!

Volunteers mid-June
Gems of volunteers – these are the mid-June ones: Johanna and Jens (Germany), Natalia (Brasil), Candela (Argentina), Anne (Belgium), Yvonne (Mexico), Francisca (Chile), Dominic (Belgium), Federico (Brasil), Bianca (Brasil), Marianne (The Netherlands)