Biketour in Makvärket

The Biketour started on the 18th of June in Makvärket, a cultural and environmental collective in Knabstrup, about 75 km west of Copenhagen. It is an old tile factory, a huge building in a small village on the country-side that was bought some years ago and is being transformed into an art project. The building is so huge that some of us, who had lived there before for a couple of months, still kept discovering hidden rooms that they had never seen before. In the building there is a huge free-shop, a wood, metal and bike workshop, a skate park, a cinema, a big living room with sofas and a 10 meter long heated bench, and many more things, outside there is a big field that is not used for many things yet, a sauna and a pizza oven.

The idea of Makvärket is that anyone can come for any amount of time and work on any kind of project that they are interested in. There is quite a work mentality, everyone gets up early in the morning and has breakfast together, where the communal tasks for the day such as cooking and cleaning are distributed. The place is meant to be a place to work and create, not to live, so no one is a permanent resident, although some people have stayed for quite a long time. Everyone is supposed to work as much as they can, but no one is obliged to do anything. People can make up any kind of project to work on, for example someone has created an exhibition of different insulation materials, or a skate park, or a huge rocket stove whose hot air is diverted through a 10-meter long bench. The biggest project so far has been the so-called “multi-hall”, where one part of the building was transformed into a big hall with a stage, a big metal structure for acrobatics and a cafeteria.

Anyone who wants to spend a couple of weeks or months doing something creative should really visit Makvärket. On their website you can find contact information, just ask them if it’s okay for you to come.

The living room with the heated rocket-stove bench on the left

Self-made pizza made in the outdoor clay oven

Six of us had already met up in Berlin some days before the tour , taken the train to Rostock and cycled for three days from the ferry to Makvärket, where 7 or 8 people had arrived just before us. We were scheduled to stay there for 4 full days, and a lot of things needed to be done: We needed to build the rocket stoves (old oil barrels with an oven pipe inside to cook on), to get to know each other, to make decisions about our own infrastructure (how to distribute daily tasks…), to develop a system to pack the trailers, and to do any last fixes on our bikes. In addition to that, one of our values is to help out in exchange for the hospitality of our hosts.

In the end we managed to build one rocket stove, to help out a lot, to have one really long introductory circle where we decided on a set of daily tasks that we want to rotate using a sheet of paper where people sign themselves in, to make pizza in the clay oven, to have a values discussion about food acquisition, to listen to a talk about international feminism, and to do many more things that I don’t even remember.

The outcome of our food values discussion is a priority list how to acquire food:

  1. Dumpster-diving
  2. Local farms, organic or small local shops, farmer’s markets
  3. Supermarkets. In this case go for the cheapest option instead of buying organic products, as the organic labels of supermarkets don’t have a lot of regulations but are a way for supermarkets to make a lot of profit with environmentally conscious people.

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