Welcome to Hertha Village Community
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Hertha Village Community
After many years of preparation, Hertha Village Community in 1995 took the first steps to establish a village community. The project consisted of a core of some 30 people with a further 200 interested and supporting members in a support group. The necessary partners were a positive local council, a friendly regional council and a good neighborhood in Herskind, in the environs of which the Village Community is situated.
The Village Community is founded on two ideals, and we try to live up to them in our daily life.
Firstly: that everyday life contains an attempt to realize integration between ordinary village residents and a group of grown-ups with development disabilities. From the experience that we have had from this experiment so far, we can see that a genuine and desired integration develops in a positive direction. Cultural events are an essential element in the realization of living integration. They must be wide-ranging in order for everyone to find pleasure and enrichment in participation. Seasonal celebrations, communal dining, traditional dance, cafés and drama, concerts, lectures, debates etc. are some examples of our local cultural activities.
Secondly: Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy is the ideological foundation on which the place finds nutrition. This does not mean that any special knowledge about anthroposophy is required, but that it is accepted that many decisions are based on this particular background. Examples of this are: - that the agricultural land is bought outright and is in common ownership, - that farming methods are biodynamic, - that the value to the benefit of society of the disabled is beyond question, - that the village’s form of government is democratic, - that there is a special form of esthetics in buildings and the care of the landscape, and – that there is an overall organic aspect.
The vision for the village is to form a framework for the life of approximately 150 residents. Our aim was to create a social foundation to make room for life in common with a group of around 30 disabled. We believe that a community with such groups, in need of special care and attention, working on the basis of normal social rules and conditions, increases the quality of life for both groups. A co-existence to the mutual benefit of all.
The residents in the village should ideally reflect the average cross section of Danish society, with children, young and old, working locally or elsewhere. Above all, we would like a mutual exchange with the surrounding society. Independent initiatives are a key ingredient in the life of a living village. Between such initiatives, new and untested ideas are born to give a common cultural life the possibility to thrive.
In 2015 around 138 people live here, out of which 26 have special needs. Over and above a maximum of 35 jobs in protected environments for the disabled, there are presently 36 full time jobs, some for people living here and some from outside.
Since the start, buildings to the value of DKK 100 mio. have been erected on 2.5 acres of the 50 acres belonging to the community.
Living Communities and Protected Workshops
The three shared housings:
Three houses are dwellings for 23 of the disabled + 3 in independent lodgings and are the place of work for 36 educators.
Herthahus, Landsbyvænget 14, tel.: 0045 3840 3410
Burishus, Landsbyvænget 7, tel.: 0045 5210 2931
Nerthus, Demetervænget 7, tel.: 0045 3840 3430
Office of the Living Communities and Workshops: daily 8am-15pm, tel.: 0045 3840 3401.
Protected Workshops with 36 Jobs:
The Sheltered Workshops
At the workshops the adults with learning disabilities take part in work. It supports enthusiasm and commitment to see that what one has created can be used and has a purpose. And the workshops allows for many different types of functions and rhythms. Therefore, it is important that the employees can spot what is beneficial to the individual, how the individual can gain the experience of performing some meaningful work. Most residents in this way have their workplace where they live. They do not, as it is otherwise usual, have a means of transport to get to work. However, for some residents, it is of great value to have their work elsewhere. If you work where you live one does not need to use as much so much energy to relate to what you are about to start, and you find it easier to connect with what you do and what purpose it serves. In a safe and familiar environment, residents have an awareness of what the other residents are doing and where they are. This is also a strength when changing in between the various workshops.
This is a biodynamic gardening enterprise. Production is for the Living Communities and others, mainly the Village Community.
In the bakery they make biodynamic and organic bread and often cake, pizza, etc. If you don’t live in the village, you can place an order.
The bakery began quite primitively in 1996 when an enthusiastic soul was allowed - without pay - to bake with some of the residents in the living room in Herthahus. A year later we got a trailer with an oven at one end.
Now the bakery is housed in a large, beautiful building with all the machines and ovens that are needed to create a workplace for 3-5 adults with learning disabilities, a care worker / baker and 1-2 interns. It is a workplace that allows the production of large quantities of baked goods that are in demand, while respecting and caring for those who work here whose needs are not disregarded in the need to produce.
Bio-dynamic / organic Bread and cakes of high quality are baked here that are highly nutritious - including gluten free, dairy free, sugar free. One half is sold to the Community, with the remainder taken up by shops and institutions. In the course of a month the equivalent to 2,000 to 3,000 loaves are produced in a multitude of different products. Demand is so great that we sadly sometimes have to say no to an order.
The workshop produces a small amount of rag-rugs, tea towels and furniture fabric. The workshop holds a limited stock and accepts orders without time limits.This workshop was the first sheltered workplace up and running. 3- 5 residents and 1 teacher / weaver run it on a daily basis. The first year in the weaving room served as a training phase, and production was used in the sheltered dwellings. Now, production has reached the point that the most wonderfully weaved items are available for sale. Factory scale production will probably never be achieved, but for some of the disabled it provides warm, enveloping and rhythmic work with great qualities.
Farming, Stables and Dairy
We farm some 45 acres of land, and in a loose stable we keep a small herd of cows to provide raw materials for the dairy, who in turn delivers dairy produce to the Village Community and for sale outside the village, for example at "Brugsen" in Herskind and “Gårdbutikken”, Kystvejen 5 in Århus.Every day, the cows are milked from a modern milking pit, which can milk three cows at a time. The milk flows directly into Denmark's smallest, sophisticated modern dairy. It is then pasteurized and made into yogurt, junket, full cream-milk, semi-skimmed milk, skimmed milk, sour cream, butter etc. All tapped into disposable packaging, before it is brought to Hertha's local shopping centre, the local utility or to a health food in Aarhus. Cows giving approx. 500 liters of milk a week, so there are 2 to 4 residents working in the dairy, with plenty to do putting labels on, filling and packing boxes. A job where hygiene and precision are paramount.
A hot meal is cooked for 30 people at mid-day.Every day at 1pm a steaming hot aromatic dinner is on the table in the dining room in Herthahus and Burishus for 30-40 people to enjoy. Most residents take part in shifts in the kitchen, which is also ran by different employees during the week. Many skills are developed here: you experience using the products from the market garden, farm and bakery, and - not least - it is enlivening to produce a meal that could process the raw materials and to develop vision and sense of smell. Most of the foods used are organic or biodynamic. In all modesty, we boast to be one of the best eateries in Central Jutland.
Is an in-house laundry for the workshops and the Living Communities. The washing is a greatly valued and responsible job, where propriety and accuracy are developed. All the textiles used in other workshops, and private clothing for those residents who need help with this are washed 2 times a week. A team of 2 to 3 people work in the laundry.
External Workshop Places
In a close cooperation between the kindergarden on the local school and Hertha´s workshops healthy food for 60 children in a new kitchen are made every day.
Drama / theater
Once a week workshop work is inter-spliced with a few hours to practice drama. This is where one plays music, sings, and rehearses theatre for seasonal celebrations. Plays are also rehearsed which we sometimes go outside of Hertha and perform.
Activities in Hertha Village Community
Tours and Questions
An open day is arranged in the hall of the Living Community. Everybody is welcome to tea/coffee and cakes. Normally the first Saturday of each month 2pm-4.30pm 6 times a year. Tours are arranged (please see dates in the calender ("Lørdagscafé")). Information about the café on tel.: 0045 8694 9179 or 0045 8694 4527.
The Café-Room in the Village Community House
This room is the venue for many events so as the cinema “Kighullet”, A plethora of other activities have been housed in the café: meetings, lessons, tours, celebrations, etc.
“Auntie Hertha”/´Tante Hertha`
Here our meeting room/office is situated. It houses the Villagefoundation office and our library and a collection of curative pedagogic and social therapeutic and biodynamic literature. Lending by appointment.
Traces in the Landscape and bird-tower
This is an opportunity to take a good walk of 3-4 km., past a 2 hectare gravel pit, down though meadow and forest, over the fields to Lyngbygårds Å, where in 2007 a 180 hectare meadow and lake were created. The route is marked with poles. www.spor.dk
The Society for the Progress of Biodynamic Research
This society is established here with office, laboratories and 2-4 employees. The society works with other biodynamic research organizations in Europe and with Danish farmers. The aim is to research the quality of food products.
Landsbyvænget 7b, tel.: 0045 8695 4820.
Goldsmith - Workshop and Shop
Goldsmith Anne-Lene Jappe. Gold, silver, presents, repairs, design. Open by prior arrangement.
Tina Rosgaard “Nærvær i centrum”
Equality is the guiding principle in our organization. We strive to arrive at decisions that are the highest for the framework of the community on ethical, social and environmental concerns, and we are committed to reaching decisions that everyone can stand behind.
We have a complex structure with many decision-making bodies. The way these bodies are composed ensures close cooperation.
The Hertha Society
This is the support association for the Village Community. It was founded in 1982 and counts some 300 members.
The purpose is "to promote health education initiatives and social therapeutic activity and an awareness of those with disabilities' situation. The Society is also the support association for the Village Fund and Hertha Community in Herskind".
The association has approx. 300 members. Those who live in Hertha are all members, the parents of those with learning disabilities, the care workers and all those on the waiting list to live in Hertha. In addition, there are members that simply support Hertha spread throughout the country.
As a member you get a quarterly newsletter that has comprehensive information on what is going on and what you can participate in.
The membership fee is 140 Dkr. / Year.
Landsbyvænget 12, DK-8464 Galten, tel.: 0045 8695 4527. E-mail:
The Village Foundation
Is a mutual-benefit foundation. The foundation owns the land, the protected workshops buildings, and some lettings for, amongst others, the development disabled.
"Village Foundation is committed to improving the living conditions of young people and adults with learning disabilities."
Much of the Village Fund's capital is provided as gifts from foundations and private persons. Other parts are obtained through the sale of building lots for private houses. About half of the village's properties are privately owned - the rest are owned by the Village Fund.
The fund is administered by a board and is accountable for its decisions by the Civil Directorate and the Tax Department.
The Board consists of
2 members elected at the Village meeting,
2 chosen by Hertha Support Association,
1 appointed by the Anthroposophical Society and
1 local representative if the Local Council wants one.
The fund has hired a janitor, a secretary/business manager and a bookkeeper.
The Village Fund, based on its mission statement, deals with the actions that have to do with buying, selling and other transactions for the Funds' properties. Village Fund works in close cooperation with both the Village Meeting and Joint Management Committee to find the right solutions to meet Community's needs.
Tax-deduction may be available for donations to the foundation.
The Village Meeting
6-8 times per year village meetings are held. Here all citizens can participate and everything can be discussed. Once a year the election of Fællesledelsen takes place. The Village Meeting is a forum for all adult residents of Hertha and all those connected with Hertha. Here are discussed and worked through all general subjects and information about current initiatives and mandate groups are provided. Decisions are not made at Village Meetings but views are expressed to make recommendations to the Leadership Team/Joint management.
There are 6-8 Village Meetings each year, and at the April meeting members are elected to the Leadership Team and Village Fund. Eligible voters for this election are residents with registered addresses in the Community and - upon written application - other interested and involved parties.
The Village Meeting has its own statute, and a secretariat takes care of tasks related to meetings.
Leadership Team/Joint management/´Fællesledelsen´
- Our local "councilors"
Leadership Team consists of 7 members and 2 alternates. The Leadership Team meets every other week, where initiatives Living Community coordinated, and where decisions on Living Community. All important decisions must be pre-discussed thoroughly at the village meeting.
Minutes of Leadership Team meetings are published regularly. The Leadership Team has its own statute.
Schoolchildren and Transport
Apart from the schools in the vicinity, there is a possibility to attend one of 3 Rudolf Steiner Schools within a distance of 20-25 km. There are regular bus connections to the schools in Silkeborg and Århus South and to Skanderborg there is a daily schoolbus.
Bus 112 between Århus and Silkeborg stops 200m. from Landsbyvænget.
Relocation/occupation of development disabilities
Contact Per Clauson-Kaas, tel. 3849 3400
Relocation to the Village Community
Hertha Village Community
Home page: www.hertha.dk