What used to a be a grand and stately 18th century countryside manor in the island of Zealand has been transformed into one of Denmark’s biggest and oldest ecological communes. Located near the village of Skibby just 55 kilometers west of Copenhagen, the estate has been home to the Svanholm Collective, an international community and one of the country’s pioneers in organic farming.
The large manor house has been converted into housing units that can accommodate up to 30 inhabitants. The rest of the 1000-acre estate was also converted into a working, sustainable and agricultural-based community with 12 facilities for more dwellings as well as a warehouse, a kindergarten, an ecological building, a farmhouse as well as fields for corn and all kinds of vegetables. There is also a stable for horses, a community store that sells organic foods and homemade products and a large common area that serves as the community’s kitchen, dining and social hall. Today, the Svanholm community is composed of about 80 adults and 40 children.
Decision-making is made not just by one person but by everyone who is part of the community. The Svanholm community is also open to visitors – there are guided tours scheduled regularly and even for those who are interested to spend some time and live in the community. “Working guests” as they are called, are accepted on a regular basis and are put to work either on the fields or the kitchen, depending on their identified skills or interests. The community also organizes local fairs and Christmas markets.