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Trans-apocalyptic living in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

  • Switzerland
  • Favourited 163 times
  • Last activity: 18 Jun 2023



 Min stay requested: at least 3 weeks



  • Description


    New and improved! now with hot water! The new stove runs on wood pellets as well as 50cm wood logs :-) After some 11 months with close-to-freezing (4-6°C) water on the tap this really makes a difference! February 21st is now labelled "the Hot Water Day" for years to come! More improved still and since August 10th, 2022, we are FULLY OFF-GRID : water supply is provided by rainwater, electricity by a few lousy PV cells and hopefully some sort of windmills very soon ; toilets are the dry type (with sawdust).

    This is an non-profit association* in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, that aims to gather people around technology, DIY and art while maintaining an environment where people can live together and benefit from each other. As some sort of hackerspace that aims to allow its users to practice their skills and share knowledge in "everything", we try to have a diversity of people each with their own field of expertise. There is an electronics workshop with quite a few parts to play with and another one for woodworking and general mechanics with TIG welding, two lathes and a mill plus and quite a few interesting tools. More rooms are dedicated to specific activities.

    Projects we work on mostly relate to sustainability and technology (ie. efficient and affordable use of energy renewable sources, re/up/de-cycling, retrofit) ; at the same time, more subjective factors like ergonomics and aesthetics are regarded highly. Most (if not all) projects are long-term, of which some having been slowly maturing for more than 10 years.

    What would help most at the moment are people who are able to be more or less independent with

    1) general "maintenance" work such as cleaning, cooking ; I know it can feel like boring stuff but that's needed and really appreciated. This includes tending the fire, adding about one log per hour so the hot water stays hot.

    2) translations, social networking, filming video editing...

    3) welding and very basic blacksmithing, as well as cabinetmaking (building "random" stuff with wood mostly)

    4) GNU/Linux administration skills (especially with Gentoo or ArchLinux), knowledge of distcc configuration, Raspberry Pi, ESP32, electronics, etc.

    I/We are doing the best we can to survive in a trans-apocalyptic world: fossil fuels are disallowed whenever possible, the house is cool and our hearths are warm. We are striving to keep a good balance between helping, learning and having fun ; those who fail to achieve this or make an effort in this direction will be asked to leave.

    * according to articles 60 and following of the Swiss Civil Code

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Language practice
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
    Help with Computers/ Internet
  • UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    You will be staying at the heart of time itself, slightly above the mythical 1000m AMSL altitude that served as a basis for time definition for many, many years and allowed humanity to better understand the relationship between time, altitude and local pressure. Usually quite sunny with some 2000 hours per year, the city is the home of quite a few brilliant watch makers, the architect Le Corbusier, and a pretty unique environment and fun night life if you're looking for this chilled mood unique to small cities where people mostly know each other while still being large enough to allow for surprises and constant discoveries. Last but not least (and far from that), the artistic middle is very present in La Chaux-de-Fonds, with a few brilliant (and friendly) artists and is thought by some to be "the new New York" with a higher artistic density than New York has now.

    And if your attention span is good enough, you can definitely learn a lot in various technical fields being a "helping hand" while helping setting up various components of the project.

  • Help


    Lots of stuff is needed. Pretty much always something to do, making meals and cleaning out, gluing papers in the staircase, fixing or improving stuff around the house, being friendly and in a good mood, participating to the projects launched by me, the people already here and around here, and - why not - yourself? One of the project revolves around automating door management (and some other goodies) with RasperryPi-based hardware, so some help with programming (Python and/or C) is quite welcome. Those who can do some welding and general mechanics are most welcome, too.

    There is a garden waiting to be worked in, with a backhoe loader (being fixed), stuff to be grown, a fireplace for meals and parties, furniture to be designed and built, rooms to be decorated in the best possible style and comfort.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    German: Intermediate
    Spanish: Beginner
    Ukrainian: Beginner

    This host offers a language exchange
    This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
    You can contact them directly for more information.

  • Accommodation


    The building is a block from the mid-sixties, with obviously some larger or smaller rooms, enough space for st least 10 residents, and shared workshops/kitchens/bar/cinema/you_name_it. People coming here will each have their own room, food is provided for and prepared by the community, Internet access is obviously free and of decent quality.

    Heating is experimental and wood-based ; as stated above, we are fully off-grid and therefore disconnected from the "Water & Power Company"

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Free time can be spent by making or contributing to art or technical projects, learning with me or other people who hang around the place, hiking in the region (the house is at the extreme limit of the city, with great view on both sides and endless hikes or biking trails). You can also visit the cradle of Absynth nearby and get drunk on this magical mixture, discover how cheese and watches are made, go to the museum, find and visit other artists nearby. The city is also somewhat famous for it's ice-hockey tradition so that's another thing you can do. There is also some possibility to ski around here, although I would personally recommend it only to beginners while you can get "the real stuff" in Valais some two hours away.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    I am myself "a geek amongst geeks" ; there is a wired and wireless network around the house, pretty good internet connection (when power is available), printers, scanners, spare parts, screwdrivers... You should definitely have everything you need to work and fix your computer, such as getting rid of this virus commonly know as "M$ Windows"

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    I have parked a 13-meter mobile home near the house in the past, and there's more room available. Electrical outlets and cold water are available outside at various places.

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    The bigger, the better ;-) Have an elephant? Feel free to take it with you. More seriously, I like most animals and have an easier time talking to them than to humans. In the house, animals are expected to behave like their human counterparts : to be clean, friendly and reasonably quiet.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Should be at most 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week. Due to corona situation, more is appreciated and less may be available.

Host ref number: 699885496595

Feedback (3)



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Accuracy of profile: (4.7)

Cultural exchange: (4.7)

Communication: (4.3)

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