Schloss Tempelhof was founded by entrepreneurs and activists from civil society movements around solidarian economy and health in Munich in 2007. After several years of community building, a core group of 20 members bought an abandoned village in a rural area in South Germany, called Tempelhof in 2010. With their plan to build a village of 150-200 people – a decent number of people for mutually supportive living – they have grown to 140 people after 5 years. The land and real estate is owned by a residential based foundation and a cooperative. The communal infrastructure includes a canteen, car sharing, a village school and community gardening with 60% self-sufficiency. Schloss Tempelhof employs about half of its members in part time positions on the basis of need-based salaries, it carries on a seminar centre, plus members are running several businesses, a free school and an experimental, innovative projects like the recently built ‘Earthship’.
The members of the initiative wanted to purchase an attractive site to build an ecovillage for living together near Munich. It was disappointing and caused an existential crisis of the group when it was suddenly sold to an investor.
After years of searching for a site the ecovillage initiative re-orientated towards community values and Munich was released as target area. Finally, rural Tempelhof site was found and bought.
Tempelhof ecovillage had a strong intention to found an own school from the beginning. Experts on alternative schooling conceptualise a ‘reform village school’. Receiving the existential legal permission by the state failed two times before succeeding.
From its beginnings Schloss Tempelhof was following to realise the ‘all leaders’ principle. It became crucial and turbulent when the founders stepped back from the managing board in 2013. During this shift the inner governance system was transformed.
Schloss Tempelhof ecovillage started with 20 members on the new site. In just two years, they grew to 120 members. Caused also through media popularity the community received overwhelming joining requests and had to re-organise its strategy of growing, inclusive expanding to the region.
After the renovation of the historical castle in Tempelhof in 2014 a café was opened in parts of the basement rooms. The café has become a new place for casual socialising within the community and with outside people from the region.
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