Concept

What is the Eschenhof?

For a long time we've been dreaming of living and working together in a self-determined way. After many nights of discussion picturing our dreams and plans and the best place to live, we came to the conclusion that first of all we need a lot of space to fulfill our ideas of a socially and ecologically sustainable way of life. We want a space without hierarchies, free of discrimination and prejudices, open for people from the neighbourhood and for our friends from all over the world. Therefore we starting searching and finally found a house which we think is close to perfect .... the Eschenhof (a german noun putting together the words for ash tree and farm-yard) The Eschenhof is an old estate in the southeastern outskirts of Hamburg. Here we have a lot of space for living and working, for open workshops and studios, a place to develop collective perspectives and struggle. The Eschenhof was constructed at the end of 19th century in what is called "Rotklinkerstil" (built with red burnt bricks typical for Hamburg's architecture). Until some years ago it was used as a real farmhouse including 2 stables and 2 barns. The Eschenhof collective owns about 8000m² of land and all the buildings on it. Because the house is old and was abandoned for several years there is a lot of restoration work to be done. We are going to renovate this beautiful old house and build new rooms for living in one of the old stables. The other buildings will host workshops, a small gym, an art studio, a room for music and instruments and so on, all of which can be used by other people/collectives. For all this we need a lot more than helping hands and cash. So check out how you can support us.

Eschenhof collective

We are a group of about 20 individuals, who want to live and work together. Our aim of living together in a comprehensive sustainable way implies ecological and social as well as economical aspects. As no woMan is an island, we don't want to be an isolated project. It's not just about living an ecological lifestyle by collective organization, but being part of the struggle for global solidarity and justice. To achieve this aim you will find events like discussions, solidarity parties workshops taking place at the Eschenhof.

We already started some collective projects like the Institute for sustainable development e.V., which will be domiciled at Eschenhof. The Institute realises among others projects with children and juveniles on ecological and enviromental issues and counsels other collective projects in questions of ecological construction. The workshops we are equipping at the Eschenhof can be used by everyone, you don't have to live here! We plan workshops for bikes, metal- and woodworking, a library, a sports room, a printing room, a café, a freebox and a multipurpose room.

The garden

Outside there is a lot of space as well, so we started gardening. We're planning a natural garden, which accommodates many different plants and creatures. So we will foster biotopes for bumble-bees, bats, hedgehogs constructing hedges, stone piles and so on. Furthermore we plan a garden to plant veggies for domestic use and plant some more fruit trees (until now we just have apples and walnuts but these are fantastic). The farmyeard which is mainly concrete right now will be unsealed on many parts. You see there are many plans and we are looking forward to meeting you here to enjoy "landlife".

A question of cash

All in all we have to pay around 300.000 just for buying the estate. Not included in the 287.500 we paid the owner are the interest of the estate agent, money for the notary and taxes. Renovating and things like a heating system will be about another 110.000 in the next years. All this includes a lot of own work. We do not pay any professionals unless it is absolutly necessary. Newertheless it's a huge amount of money. Until now we got a lot of credit from you already wich allows us to borrow "just" 250.000? from the bank. Thank you for that it's the only way to make this project affordable.

Mietshäuser Syndikat

For sure you want to know how we can pay this and even more important who will own this in the end... After tough discussions we decided to buy Eschenhof with the help of "Mietshäuser Syndikat"(meaning something like syndicate of tenement houses). Thats a syndicate founded in 1992 in south Germany to ensure self-government of houses. Mietshäuser Syndikat is constantly growing since its start. All projects are willing to support each other and no project failed yet but many did a very well job. As all other projects in Mietshäuser Syndikat (there are 49 at the moment) we as individuals do not own the estate we bought. The idea is that the people in the house found a legal accociation (ours is called defActo e.V.). This association will found a company/limited corporation together with the Mietshäuser Syndikat (ours is called Eschenhof GmbH). This company is the legal owner of the house. I know it sounds quite strange to found a company to buy a house but this legal model ensures that Eschenhof will never be sold on the estate market again. Because Mietshäuser Syndikat own 49% of the house they will never allow that anyone makes money with the house. On the other hand the people living in the house (represented by defActo e.V.) will always have the power to decide what happens in the house because they own 51% of the company. So all the credits we get eighter from the bank or much better from friends go to this company. We pay back these credits with our monthly rent. Furthermore wie pay 10cent/m² rented space to support a solidarity fund of Mietshäuser Syndikat (each project beeing part of Mietshäuser Syndikat does this). With this money the projects support each other. Because we always need money (e.g. people who borrowed us money need it back) it is important to always find people who are willing to give us a credit. Each 500? does really help and you yourself can decide how long and with wich interest (up to 2.5%) you help out. If you think we are more trustworthy than a bank espacially in times of crisis fill out this form (only in german) or contact us for more information. The bank we borrow money from is called GLS. We choosed them because they do not cooperate with extremly ugly business like nuclear energy or amaments industry but rather give it to social or ecological investors. Anyways, of course we prefer not working together with banks so borrow us money ; )