About me

Hi, my name is ilonka! I have decided to travel around the world to visit examples of groups of people committed to living in harmony with nature and each other, experimenting with forms of living self-sufficiently and in community. I belief ecovillages and sustainable communities around the world are examples of what a sustainable future could look like. They can inspire and provide hope, as well as be a good source for practical experience for all facets of sustainable life together on earth. (want to know more about why I expedition along ecovillages, read my blog about that here).

Through writing about my journey along ecovillages, I hope to inspire other people with the many different possibilities of living in harmony with nature and in community with each other.

Me happily clay plastering

I decided to quit my job as a sustainability transitions researcher to gain hands-on experience in communities around the world. With a lot of fun I have worked the past two years at the research institute called DRIFT (https://drift.eur.nl/), at Erasmus University Rotterdam (https://www.eur.nl/en). Here I worked primarily on an action-research project concerning the energy transition in the city of Amsterdam. I studied the potential and barriers for cooperative heating systems in new and existing neighborhoods.

I have a bachelors degree in Architecture, where my love for eco-design, natural building and self-sufficient living really flourished. I specialized in earth-bag building during my bachelor thesis and collaborated on some projects abroad to have hands-on experience with natural building (mostly straw, clay-plastering and earth-bag building). During my bachelors I also started an initiative for education on building with natural, ecological materials and techniques, because I found this lacking in the program offered by university.

Building an earth-bag dome in Spain

I continued my education with a master’s degree in Industrial Ecology, a program on sustainability and systems thinking at an interdisciplinary level. Here I focused more on social aspects to sustainability, like decision-making methods, organizational structures and personal development. I graduated in early 2017 with a thesis on social innovation in Dutch ecovillages, for which I did several months of field work in five ecovillages in the Netherlands. (read about my thesis here: https://drift.eur.nl/publications/social-innovation-dutch-ecovillages/) I had a great time during this research because community life, combined with eco-design and self-sufficient living really meets all my inspiration and passions.

Me teaching a class on earth-bag building at the faculty of Architecture of the Technical University of Delft.

I therefor now want to continue on this path and dive into sustainable community life. I love to write blogs or articles and share my knowledge through workshops and presentations and this is what I want to continue with during my travels to eco-communities in the coming years. I plan to harvest all the knowledge and experience I have in blogs. But first and foremost I want to dive in to practical experience of building eco structures with a group of wonderful people and grow from the reward this kind of work gives my soul. I am interested also in personal development and spiritual growth. I hope, through meeting many different people and exchanging world-views, religious views and life-philosophies, to use my volunteering time also for feeding this interest of mine.

Me next to a Hugelbed after transplanting pumpkins and corn.

Hope to meet you along the way and feel free to contact me!

Hug, Ilonka