Ecotopia Österlen in Tomellila, Sweden


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

Ecotopia with its seven acres of land started in 2006 based on a holistic perspective with permaculture principles as guidelines. Ecotopia Österlen presents sustainable solutions such as different combinations of ecological building materials with related structures, energy calculation, ecocycle gray water sewage system, wood-fired oven, combined heating system, solar panels, linseed-oil and egg tempera painting etc. At Ecotopia old and new knowledge are intertwined. The farmhouse is a traditional Scanian house from the 19th century built of dried mud-bricks. In 2010 it was lengthened with a farm building. After that the Future workshop and Meeting place were built.

In 2014, the construction of a total of five eco-cabins was completed. The cabins are placed in different natural surroundings and each cabin has four beds, which makes a total of 20 beds. The cabins are all built differently regarding construction and choice of ecological building materials, such as straw, clay, mud-bricks, wood, peat and reed. Kitchen, two bathrooms and four compost toilets are available in our service unit at Mötesplatsen (the Meeting Place), 1-2 minutes walk from the cabins. Our wheelchair accessible cabin has its own kitchen and bathroom.


Straw bale cabins

Two of the cabins are built of straw bales. One has clay walls and floor, while the other is covered with wood panelling and has a hardwood floor. Both cabins have geothermal heating.


Pictures and description of the straw bale courses in Ecotopia:

Working together

Ecotopia på Österlen has begun to work together with & support of other non-profit organizations & foundations with the same or similar intentions:

Forumteater FTS – De förtrycktas teater

Den Goda Jorden

Permakultur i Skåne PIS

PIA Permakultur-Akademie im Alpenland

Verein Keimblatt

Biodynamisk odling

Ekologiska Lantbrukarna

Bio Austria

asbn – Austrian Strawball Network

Brave new world

The Pachamama Alliance

Runåbergs Fröer

Österikiskt frönätverk som skyddar kulturväxter och deras mångfald

Österlen – Borta med vinden?

Albo härads hembygsdförening

STF Vandrarhem i Skåne Tranås

Written by Herbert Gruber

Herbert is author of the book "Neues Bauen mit Stroh" (New Building with Straw), head of the austrian strawbale network ASBN and partner in the Leonardo-project "Strawbale Training for European Professionals (STEP). As a collector he documents European straw bale buildings since 1999 on his website (database, german), in lectures, workshops and books.