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The Franciscan Ecological Project "Stoutenburg"

Stoutenburgerlaan 5, 3835 PB Stoutenburg
The Netherlands
E-mail: post@stoutenburg.nl

Improving the relationship between men and nature

Digging up carrots that are kept cool in the earth. The 'Franciscan Ecological Project' has been in operation from 1991 on the country-seat "Stoutenburg" near Amersfoort, The Netherlands.

The purpose of this project is to improve the relationship between man and nature. The idea behind this project is the view that this relationship has become seriously distorted. This has led to many problems not only for people themselves but also for the environmental context of life itself. In the Stoutenburg grounds, which measure about thirty acres, the Foundation offers people the opportunity to restore their relationship with nature and environment in practice and by reflection.

A religious perspective

The Project maintains that the relationship between humans and the environment can be truly changed and renewed radically, provided the effort is based on a spirituality, a religious perspective which is nourished by the essential relation-ship of all creatures with one another and with the Creator. The spirituality of Saint Francis and Clare of Assisi is for us a powerful source of inspiration.

The community: common day life

Turning grapes into wine, by trappling feet! The community consist of adults and children that share the above mentioned spirituality as laid out in a religious way of life, with a balanced mix of activities and meditation, privacy and social life. It maintains a household, which is environment-friendly: the members grow vegetables and fruits in an ecological kitchen garden.


Furthermore, the community also provides an opportunity for those who wish to join the project for a shorter period. It organises activities and runs courses, which deal with environment and spirituality. About a hundred volunteers join the community annually for a shorter or longer period of time. Twice a year the program of activities on Spirituality and Ecology is published (in Dutch).

Basics and reflection

The meditationroom, place of gathering for the person and the community. The 'Franciscan Ecological Project' Foundation is responsible for both the objectives and the material requirements of the project. In addition, the Foundation promotes reflection on the experiences of the community and the volunteers through workshops and through publications. To do this the Foundation relies on gifts and donations. To pay the rent for the grounds and the premises the Foundation rents out the Coach-house and a part of the Castle itself as a small-scale and environment-friendly conference-centre.

Read more:
A report on a short visit by an Indian student.
An Irish Franciscan joined the community for a week in 2010.

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July 2014