REMARK: The info on this page will probably be outdated as Robur keeps evolving and things change rapidly. So best ask concrete questions when you apply!
Since September 2019 there’s a preference for Dutch/Flemish speaking people (partly due to too many misunderstandings), for one or just a few days.
However, when you are from outside Flanders or The Netherlands and have already stayed for a longer period in the past (so you know how things work in the ‘gypsy camp’!), and you would like to return to help out again for a while (no matter how long or short), you’re very welcome, too!
APPLICATIONS WELCOME until December 9, 2019 and again in April and May 2020 (after that Robur should be finished!), ONLY if you live nearby and want to come for one or two days, OR if bring your own sleeping facilities (e.g. a camper van) OR if you’ve been at The Oak before!
Come live and work in back-to-basics paradise for a while!
This is a healing and inspiring place that is already serving by bringing people together in a most harmonizing way. People that have been here, go back home a more connected person. When you are volunteering at The Oak, you become part of a small-scale project with a great impact.
We are in the last phase of constructing. Staying for at least one month helps to get familiar with the work that needs to be done. There is no max. duration for stays, as long as it feels good to all. You may grow into a more responsible position.
No alcohol or drugs allowed. So PLEASE be respectful to the place and DO NOT APPLY when you cannot be without alcohol or drugs during your stay!
Smoking only in the Smokers’ Space.
PLEASE only apply when you recognize yourself in this description:
– you’re responsible and empathic
– you’re communicative and have a sufficient level of English
– you have a feeling of TAKING CARE of stuff: keeping things and the area TIDY an CLEAN. This is very important, so if that’s naturally a must for you, The Oak is your place to be! 🙂
If, on the other hand, you’re rather nonchalant and careless, you’d better look for a place that doesn’t need you to take care so much.
– you are aware of living in a more ecological and mindful way, or want to start doing so: avoid (plastic) waste, stop wasting food, water and electricity, be mindful of all life that is surrounding you, etc.
– you love working in the finishing phase of the building – which means you’ll need to do a lot of challenging cleaning jobs (especially cleaning lime from the wood, a very daring job!) and wood protecting stuff.
– you love cooking and/or helping to keep the kitchen clean.
Anyone who fits this profile, who is a bit handy and wants to be part of manifesting this (already) healing project for over a month is very welcome!
Always wanted in this construction phase:
– cooks for the volunteers: 3 – 6 people, responsible for the kitchen (VERY needed!!). You don’t have to be a very skilled cook, as long as you are okay with cooking creatively with very basic ingredients. Keeping the kitchen clean at all times is part of the job. THE KITCHEN IS THE HEART OF LIFE at this project, so don’t think small of it. And enjoy the natural setting!
– (ecological) builders and people with carpenting skills. However, anyone who wants to be part of manifesting this (already) healing project and is handy, is very welcome!
– volunteers for odd jobs, such as gathering fire wood for the central Fireplace and the Kelly Kettle, picking up trash that is on the site, cleaning the bathroom and the Lazy Lounge (very easy and quick, since it’s outside :-)), etc.
– help sawing and chopping wood for the woodstove in the winter period.
I’m building a hobbitlike, ecological round small weekend house (mainly wood and hempcrete), called Robur at The Oak. The map doesn’t really show the right location; best is to type and find “Robur op Den Eik” in Google Maps.
Since February 2017 the project is officially a nonprofit organisation, and in 2018 it’s been accepted by the Belgian King Baudouin Foundation as a reliable ‘good cause’, to be found on the website goededoelen.be.
When ready, Robur will host burnt-out people, or people who need a break from their personal hectic life to prevent burn-out. Another possible use is a short stay (max. 3 months) for artists (e.g. writers) to be able to focus on their project (“artist in residence”). When not occupied, Robur may provide a harmonizing space for e.g. mini-workshops and other small-scale events with themes that match (RE-)CONNECTION through Rest, Nature, Healing and Creativity.
There is a Facebook group with photos and videos depicting the evolution until mid 2017: “Robur op Den Eik / Robur at The Oak” (send me a PM saying that you want to volunteer and I’ll accept you as a member).
On this website you can find more pictures with the evolution after mid 2017 in the Newsletter.
Be welcome to become a Roburger! 🙂
This is a very back-to-basics project. I myself have been living as a nomad in a van for about 15 years now, meaning that I don’t have houselike accomodation to offer. Instead, I offer you a one of a kind, warm, connected exchange and experience with people from all over the world.
When you come to The Oak there may be a bunch of other volunteers, OR you could be there working alone with me or one more volunteer.
Even though Robur is almost finished, accomodation is still quite back-to-basics and natural, almost like camping in the wild: a tent – your own or mine – in the forest (as long as the outdoor temperature allows) or your own camper van near the path.
There is one small and simple indoor bedroom at the back side of the site hut, good for one or two people.
Two people can sleep on the mezzanine in Robur.
In October 2017 we built Querculus, a partly insulated garden shed, with space for one to four people.
Bringing your own sleeping bag is very helpful, but not mandatory.
The Oak has an outdoor kitchen and outdoor bathroom (with buckets to shower hot or cold), and an outdoor cold shower.
A heavenly Lazy Lounge will provide you of nice relaxing moments, on your own or with other volunteers.
And of course, the heart of The Oak is the central Fireplace next to the kitchen, where volunteers can gather every evening, for the meals and in their free time.
There is potable water from a well (143 m deep) and green electricity from the grid.
SURROUNDINGS / ENTERTAINMENT
There are a lot of hiking and biking opportunities with a nature reserve on walking distance, called Visbeekvallei (info on the internet in Flemish); also on walking distance are Camping De Lilse Bergen with a huge swimming lake (day entrance € 5,-), a horse riding centre, a country golf club and a waterski club (just in case :-)).
At ca. 30 mins. walking / 10 mins. biking, you can enjoy Beerse swimming pool and sports centre (wifi available), see opening hours and fees at The Oak.
The Oak has some (old) bicycles that can be used for short distances.
Also, bicycles can be rented at the nearby camping site from 9 a.m. till 8 p.m. for € 8.
You can also buy a bus card (10 rides) that almost halves the regular price of a bus ticket when you want to visit Antwerp or Turnhout, or travel further by train to other cities (Brussels, Ghent, Bruges).
Internet only available of your own (3/4/5G, a SIM card with internet only (e.g. Orange), etc.), or wifi to be found in a nearby restaurant/pub ‘Hestia’ (at 1,5 km) and in the two villages (at 4-5 km).
If you need your own internet, make sure you have it before arriving at The Oak!
If you only need internet to buy tickets for your next trip, you are welcome to ask me and we’ll do it together on my laptop.
When there is only you at The Oak, you can use wifi as long as you don’t use too many data (e.g. don’t watch movies!), since The Oak’s data are limited.
You can do your laundry manually for free, or have it done in the washing machine for a small contribution (between € 0,10 for one piece and € 2,50 for a full machine, which is only the real cost).
There’s too much work for one almost elderly woman with physical limitations ;-), so Robur at The Oak will always be happy with any help for the most needed jobs.
JUST ONE REQUEST: to help voluntarily doesn’t mean to help without any commitment… As soon as we’ve SET DATES, I actually COUNT ON YOUR HELP for that WHOLE period, as I will have organized everything (work, food, sleeping place etc.). Not showing up makes the work harder for those who did show up, and may disrupt the follow-up job organisation.
You are invited to apply for any period available.
Weatherwise April through September is the best period, but also later you’ll be welcome. Robur is heated now, so you can always find a warm and dry place if the weather is bad!
In winter Robur is hibernating, so no volunteers then.
Being able to smoothly communicate is really a must at The Oak! At least intermediate knowledge of English is needed: not being able to speak English well enough, creates a lot of misunderstandings and unintended frustration.
So please apply in English, and DO NOT use a translator, so that I have an idea of your level of English. Being honest about this really rewards! Thank you for your understanding.
Make sure you have your own health and travel insurance, or come at your own risk.
WHAT TO BRING
1) If you can’t bring your own working clothes, there is a limited choice of clothes at The Oak. In case you need them: safety gloves, dust masks, safety glasses and ear plugs are available.
2) What personal clothes to bring? In Belgium fall, winter and early springtime are often wet and cold, and unpredictable. It may freeze or it may not freeze at all. The sun may shine a lot (still cold, though), or not. Combined with the daring accomodation circumstances your fall or early spring stay could be a challenging experience! 😉 Ask me about that, when applying for that period. Robur is now heated, and people can also sleep there.
When you come in late spring, summer and early fall, make sure to bring a swimsuit. You can swim outdoors in a lake at Camping De Lilse Bergen (day entrance € 5,-) at only 10 minutes’ walk.
Also bring some outdoor shoes that are easy to put on and off: Querculus and Robur’s mezzanine are shoe-free and so is my van.
3) In spring and summer, bring mosquito protection! And when you are allergic to mosquito or wasp bites, also bring your own medication. There are not so many mosquitos or wasps all the time, but sometimes it’s like an invasion (during a hot and wet period).
4) Bring some cash euros or at least test your bank card at an ATM in Belgium before coming to The Oak to see whether it’s accepted. Also, there is no ATM or shops in the direct surroundings of The Oak, you’ll have to walk about 45 minutes to an hour to find them (or use one of the available bicycles).
5) Let’s be clear: staying at The Oak while you are contributing by helping out with whatever needs to be done in that moment does NOT cost anything – unless you want to offer a free donation, since I have no real income and not enough money left to finish Robur and keep feeding my volunteers. EVERY donation, even a small one, is very much welcomed. But I would never ever ask for a mandatory amount of money if people already give the best of themselves to make this beautiful project happen!
Robur at The Oak is a project for and by many people. It wants to reconnect in many ways, so you are gratefully welcomed to help realise this beautiful project!
Have you any more questions? It’s my priority to help you feel at home during your stay at The Oak! So please contact me, also for direct applications!