Help to convert an old brewery into a community space in Beveren-aan-den-IJzer, Belgium



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This listing is a Last minute host. They have let us know that they are looking for help immediately as well as at other times of the year.

 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    Hi all! We are a family of 4, former travellers in an expedition truck. In 2019, we decided to take our kids out of the system and into the unknown for over 2 years, combining travelling and learning.
Now we are home-based in Belgium in a huge old brewery complex, this is where we want to stay for quite a while, and share the space and earth’s wealth with other conscious travellers, giving back the hospitality that we enjoyed so much during our journey through Europe and North Africa.
    This old brewery complex consists of a large old factory, with 930m2 floors, several gardens, a mansion with 9 rooms and a common living/kitchen. It can be everything we are longing for: a place to call home, shared spaces with new friends, cultural exchanges, and learning from each other, as well as a place to prosper and explore our own skills. The goal is to be self-sufficient by building and inventing all facilities for it, always keeping the ecological footprint and re-use of products in mind, in addition to sustainability.
This former Brewery, once one of the largest breweries of Belgium during the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, is a unique domain in the Westhoek of Belgium, and we, as volunteers, want to bring it into a new birth, converting it on the go together.

 We are going to build our own sustainable (permaculture) vegetable garden, build a water supply system using the beerstorage-tower, and search for ways of generating alternative energies, like electricity. The mansion next to the brewery is now being converted into a co-housing / guest facility, where we will have rooms for volunteers or couples who would like to help with all kinds of odd-jobs on the site and at the large complex.
Our goal is to be able to live and work completely self-sufficiently, by means of organizing gatherings, growing vegetables in our 1 hectare large permaculture garden, guided tours, photo shoots, small free ceremonies and community- or village gatherings. We want to preserve the complex and its history for the generations to come.
    As the mansion is converted, we are in need of more hands to fill the rooms with people who want to be part of this start-up, both short-term and longer term.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Charity Work
    Art Projects
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Starting at the very beginning of a community, we are open to all new unconventional and experimental stages of community life and self-sustainability. This is a place where you can start projects, experiments, even art-projects and achieve results with the help of the people here. We really want to pioneer ourselves into the future, and explore all kinds of possibilities in the range of heating, solar power, water purification, gardening, and also art and cultural explorations. and even more... At this point we live with a pioneersgroup of 6 people permanently here, 2 long-term volunteers and always some short-term workaway travelers. On average we are with 8 to 10 persons here.

    We have a no drugs (soft/hard/paddo) -policy. Preferably also non smoking, but definitely not anywhere children, or where we could find cigarette butts. Have a beer, have a wine, or even two, but don’t overstep your own borders and get tipsy or drunk.
    We aim to recycle as much as possible, both in food and materials, and keep the waste to at least as possible. That means that our meals are not lavish, but surely more than enough, and we like to reduce water usage and any other kind of spoilage to a minimum. Of course you can take a shower any time and as many as you want, just try to keep the water use and the energy to heat it in mind.
    On a daily basis our lives are filled with working on various projects, including cleaning, maintaining, improving or relaxing. As there is always something to do, we choose our time-off at any time we like. Feed the chickens, work in the garden or set up our own cinema, building a stage for a band or create our own yoga room; We can do it all here. And together that will be way much more fun.

    As we are a co-housing (and sort-of community) in startup, living together and sharing together, we expect that all people naturally and without asking clean parts of the quarters and mansion and all facilities like you would do in your own place too. We see this part not as work-away hours, but just commonality: We’re not a restaurant nor a guesthouse with housekeeping, but a community. That takes more than doing the dishes, but you will find that it is community-life in its fullest and even more grateful.
    We have a washing machine (€3) and a dryer available (€3) and you are welcome to use our sauna (€3)
    We have also a more-and more extending fitness-area you can use, our ping-pong tournaments are legendary, and feel free to use our yoga-studio or watch occasionally a movie or play the Wii in our cinema. We have a fast internet connection, but it's limited to 200GB/month for all of us. So watching an occasional movie is not a problem, bench-watching Netflix might ran us all out of data before the month is over.

    But best of all we have a “Please-do-whatever-you-like, are best at, AND helps our community in a positive way” - policy.
    We generally are starting at 10 until 12, and 13 until 16 o’clock. Take your days off how you like, Workaway states 5 days of work in a 7 day week, so you can be flexible in that too.
    Last but not least “We are looking very much forward to your arrival, and hope you will enjoy our little paradise in the making.

    All the best,

    Co-housing community.

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Help


    Technical / all-round / permaculture volunteers needed in the west of Belgium, near Ypres / Poperinge.

    -> WHAT WE MOST NEED NOW <- is technical people: Electrics and carpeting, construction and all-rounders.

    As we do a lot ourselves, we require extra hands to get some projects done.
    We kinda know how to do most things, just need the hands to do so.

 Are you a technical person, or do you like gardening, would you like to learn about self-sufficient living and help to improve our little spot on the globe? We are looking for you to join us for a while!

About us: We did a few projects while travelling, where we helped people thrive to be better than the day before. After our journey we decided never to live in a normal house any more, but to do this major project and ask for help with an international crew. And so we are looking for very motivated, international, and independent people to help carry out some of the many projects on the property. From small independent jobs to multi-day projects, but also to socialize, cook and live together, as we have done before on our journey too. Jobs change every moment: from constructing to gardening, welcoming visitors and improving the daily hassle on the go.

Come and enjoy yourself! Bring your partner or your friend and discover the Westhoek in Belgium.
    Take a trip to Ypres or Brugge, come kayaking on the River IJzer, and discover the stories behind the history of the Brewery or the many sites of the First World War on a hike. Participation is for two weeks minimum, up to 2 months max.

    Hours are general between 10am to 12pm, then we have lunch together, and start again from about 1pm to 4pm. Time off in the morning to sleep in or do workouts in our gym or yoga in our studio, and in the afternoon to go shopping, kayaking or visiting the area.
    Pick your own day off to visit cities and learn about the history of World War 1 and 2. 

    Send your info as a private message in the chat, or email us, and we will contact you to find common grounds to continue. 
All the best from Belgium!

  • Languages spoken

    German: Fluent
    English: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Dutch: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    We provide breakfast, lunch, diner and a (sometimes shared) room for full-time workawayers in the Mansion or at our living quarters a few houses down the road, depending on availability and length of your stay. In our common living room and kitchen, we have a cosy fireplace and love to play cards or board games in the evening.

    We also have a camper / RV private camper-parking for 5 or 6 vans with own toilet, electrics and water, or we could find you a corner in the meadow if you’re into camping and you bring your tent.

    At this point (Dec 2021) we are working on the final steps of building all the facilities like private showers and toilet blocks in every room in the mansion. So work is continued as we speak.

    We provide full meals for all who work the minumum, and you are most welcome to help preparing/cooking too. We love different cultures. We are a flexitarian kind of group, and are open to any new things we come across. If you have special diet requirements, we try to fit your needs or find a solution, so let us know upfront before we go shopping.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Around 1914 - 1915 the most gruesome battles of the First World War happened in this area.
    The town of Ypres is pretty near, and it was rebuilt the same way it had looked before the war after it was completely demolished.
    There are a lot of English and Canadian graveyards here. Old bunkers, trenches, or smuggling routes, it's all here to discover. Quite some musea about warfare, and historic places to visit. The beach is 20 minutes by car, and the French border only 1600m away. England is 2 hours away by car, Lille 1 hour away, and Dunkirk 30min away. We often can arrange a lift easily, and the bus stop is near. Our village is very small, a few bars and a small shop, but the nearest town (Poperinge) is a 15min drive 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

    We have a pretty decent internet connection, a 4-person office you can use, or you can find yourself a place somewhere in the range of our routers or run your own wire to make your own temporary spot.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    We have our own camper field for about 5 or 6 vans. 10 Amps shared electric sockets, a separate toilet and running water (not drinking water yet, but work is in progress.)

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    4-5 hours a day, but all the fun is included, so we never look at our watches.

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Host ref number: 916726635456