The finishing phase has begun!

*** Important note: The English website won’t be updated anymore, because at some point it will disappear. Google Translate and other translators have become good enough to interpret websites in foreign languages. Only the Newsletter will continue to appear in English as long as the English website is online. When it goes offline interested subscribers can move to the Flemish website and subscribe to the Newsletter there. You will be updated when this change is about to happen.
Thanks for your understanding!***

Preparing for the Workshop

Faramir and Aragorn are working hard to get all the furniture that is against walls to be finished on time, because they will organically be plastered in.

The preparatory electricity works and the last mosaics are also finished, with love and patience ;-).

Then emptying Robur…

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… and then for five days:

The Lime Plastering Workshop!

First explaining and practicing, with Miel and Wolf…

… then the practice… (video only in Flemish/Dutch)

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… and the result after five days!

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It’s not all done yet, there is still about a fourth of the walls to do. It is also quite a meticulous job, if done in an organically built hobbit house.
Many thanks to the enthusiastic team of students, and teachers Miel and Wolf!

Ventilation and insulation

A great deal of work is still being done on ventilation and additional insulation in order to reduce the EPB fine as much as possible.

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Rainwater drainage

We also started the rainwater drainage behind Robur, but that’s rather difficult, as there are no longer any foreign volunteers (meaning people who are specifically looking for projects becaue they have time) and I cannot do the physically heavy work myself. So for now it remains half finished and partly washed away by the many downpours.

Helpers mailinglist

Robur at The Oak is especially looking for one day helpers or people who would stay longer and have stayed at The Oak before so who are familiar with the habits.

You can be included in a personal mailing list (only in Flemish/Dutch though) without any obligation (just contact Marieke), and you will receive an e-mail from time to time with the concrete jobs that need to be done. And if you are meticulous, patient, meditative (or willing to practise those skills), you are especially wanted! 🙂
But also for the more rough jobs a lot of helping hands are still needed.

If you feel called to come and help, be welcome! Robur can only be finished thanks to many, many hearts and hands…

Thank you for your support, in your way!

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Carried ever more

Important note: The English website won’t be updated anymore, because at some point it will disappear. Google Translate (or other translators) has become good enough to interpret websites in foreign languages. The Newsletter will continue to appear in English as long as the English website is online. When it goes offline interested subscribers can move to the Flemish website and subscribe to the Newsletter there. You will be updated when this change is about to happen.
In this Newsletter the links are Flemish already, because the content of the pages has recently changed too much (as only the Flemish website is being updated).

Next phase in sight!

In the meantime, it is quite clear: exactly as it was intended, Robur is slowly shifting in the next growth phase, from ‘building up’ (Robur itself) to ‘building out’ (the non-profit organization Robur at The Oak).
At the moment there have been two very supportive and inspiring meetings of care providers who want to work together for this purpose. A core group and a support group have formed out of these meetings, in order for the operation to always remain transparent and with more continuity. The core group will give content and structure to the non-profit organization, the support group will provide feedback.

-hulpverleners (foto AnneMartine Humblet)
Second meeting of the interested care providers (photo: Anne Martine Humblet)


Collaboration with care providers covers the entire spectrum from “sending clients to stay for a few weeks / months in Robur” (with or without their own counselors) to “taking over the entire non-profit organization and building it up at their own discretion” (of course according to the statutes). Somewhere in between there is, for example, “setting up and giving prevention programs for companies” (with Robur at The Oak being the location).
In fact, for me as the initiator and inspirator of this project, it can go ALL directions at the moment. I am not a burn-out coach myself, so I think it is important that trained care providers who can contribute to coping with the burn-out problem can indicate what they think is most appropriate in the field. In this way, the non-profit organization will get its content naturally, especially with regard to burn-out.

By the way, everything that has to do with (re)connection and works through rest, nature, healing or creativity can find a place at The Oak and even in the non-profit organization – because those are important aspects in burn-out prevention. After all, Robur at The Oak is “A place of Connection” for a reason.

We are all very curious about how this seed will bloom and grow into a deep-rooted, wide-branched oak that many people can hide under (and in) …

The past benefit weekend

On 22 and 23 June there were a few small-scale, cozy activities on and around The Oak, where you could contribute as a sympathizer (see Calendar, Dutch only – use a translator!).
At the peak Saturday night there were almost thirty people, the weather was wonderful, the atmosphere too – everything fitted together perfectly. Thank you, Durnez T&T and dear audience! And I like to give a big compliment to the volunteers of that moment, who cheerfully and kindly took care of the meals and the drinks.

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On Sunday we hiked around the Warande lake, unfortunately without the forest ranger, who could not come due to illness. The afternoon was concluded with a cheerful mini-concert by Tsjoedi (of which I unfortunately have no photos).

After deducting the costs, the weekend raised around 370 euros. Of course you can still support, that is now more than ever necessary to really finish Robur! (For amounts of more than 40 euros and when you pay taxes in Belgium you can still go to the temporary project account with the King Baudouin Foundation until the end of this year.)
I also want to take a stand here for the 1-euro Campaign, in which only two people are currently participating (thank you!). If you have a warm heart for Robur at The Oak and you are not particularly wealthy, then this may be your way of supporting – because many little ones make a big one…


One of the volunteers at The Oak will be working on the structure of the website in the coming months, thanks! Hopefully everything will be clearer and clearer, with fewer repetitions. Of course feedback is always welcome!

And Robur?

Sure, the work continues in Robur. Especially the carpenter, Faramir (FOG), is doing his thing there. This time, for example, he worked on the frames of the interior doors.

Roburs work table (for artists) in the making is itself a work of art:

Barked, polished and oiled oak branches form the fixture for lighting in the kitchen and in one of the bedrooms.

-takken verlichting

Furthermore, a ventilation system is still being worked on, so that the EPB fine can still be lowered:

-Elger - ventilatiesysteem

Of course we will come up with an elegant solution to hide those tubes, we have been creative with Robur before! 🙂

The rainwater drainage at the back of Robur also received the necessary follow-up.

First we removed the plants that have grown spontaneously over the past year and a half, and then we dug out ‘ditches’ for the drainage pipes, embedded between recycled strips of corrugated sheets. We want to get everything done before it starts raining again – and there is still some work to be done! Help welcome, especially this week, because The Oak now has only one volunteer for a while…

If everything goes as planned, the lime plaster will be applied in the week of 5 August. Hopefully by then we will be done with all the necessary preparations!

Finally a look back …

On May 1, the Choose Positively – more days without complaining team (the successor of the successful “30 days without complaining” campaign from last year) was happy to roll up their sleeves for charity! They managed to oil almost the entire facade (wooden shingles) in a matter of hours. This will be necessary a few more times, until the wood is sufficiently saturated.

On May 6, two scenes were recorded at The Oak for the Flemish-Dutch full-length film ” Kom hier dat ik u kus” (“Come here, that I kiss you”), after a book by Griet Op de Beeck.


And so you are updated again about the ins and outs of Robur at The Oak!

-Dream Team (foto Anne Martine Humblet)
Dream Team for a week or two! (photo: Anne Martine Humblet)

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…