hygienic dark retreat

profound rest for the self‑healing psyche

a book by andrew durham

formerly darkroomretreat.com


2012 April 28

The koloni is my great discovery about Sweden this year. There is nothing like it in the States, really. That you can legally live somewhere that costs as little as one month’s salary to OWN is beyond belief. It can be had for as little as 9000 SEK (~$900) [Edit 2023 Jan: Sadly this opportunity seems to have passed. blocket.se used to have dozens of them] The whole rent thing is such a ridiculous drag.

It is maybe the greatest thing I have heard of in an industrialized country in my whole life. While kolonis are often near loud roads, trains, and electrical stations, there are nice places, too. It’s actually how people should live: in small houses surrounded by gardens, other people who are basically there to relax, no cars, minimal fencing, compost toilets, little or no electricity.

Of course, as a way of life, it is a big secret, because Swedes seem conditioned to see kolonis as vacation/summer/second homes, not primary residences. Some places are fairly closed down in the winter, and some places are not legal to live in in the winter due to insufficient insulation. But there are others where no one cares if people stay all the time. Houses can be properly insulated. Rainwater can be harvested. Power can be had from the sun and wind. Composting toilets are practically free to build.

Again, I can’t believe this is right under peoples’ noses, and the government allows it. You pay 500-1500 yearly fees for basic services, keep your garden nice, your noise level down, and you’re in. One could grow a tall hedge over time, I think, for pleasant privacy. It is instant freedom from the slavery of school/work/rent/distraction.

There are deals like this everywhere in the third world, of course. But, boy. What a miracle to find it in the first. It makes me think of developing a whole koloni with curved paths, small round shelters, permaculture, etc. It would become a real village over time, with its own economy, etc.

Hmm. Except in Sweden, when the children are 6, they are all confiscated by the state for brainwashing and family destruction. Bummer. Well, it provides great inspiration, a model, and a clue.

< brainsdamaged