- By calmness, we mean a readiness to listen to other people, even if they don’t speak out about what is bothering them. Making time for other people is the opposite of performing.
- By frugality, we mean a simple life not dominated by excessive consumption. Respect for materials and the environment. The creativity of making a lot out of a little. So, moderation and sustainability.
- By communality, we mean that we prepare and have our meals together, together we take care of the buildings and the gardens, etc. Within the Brewery, we share our means and talents for the welfare of all.
In the outside world, we feel rather confronted with performance, consumption and rivalry as anti-values opposed to calmness, frugality and communality.
People come to regenerate, to live outdoors, to work with their hands, to break free from their daily routine, to connect with nature, to gain new strength. The Brewery is a 'community in succession': people come and go all the time, stay for a few hours or a few days, and form a group with those present at that moment.
Over the years, the pursuit of making this living together possible and safeguarding it, has led to many traditions. A daily routine has developed, inspired by the daily schedule in monasteries. This helps living together in calmness and communality.
“The Brewery, what kind of place is that? What can I expect when I go there?”
Perhaps the best way to answer these questions is to describe a day of ‘Life in the Brewery’:
The gate of the Brewery is opened at 9 am and from that moment onwards new people are welcome. Those who have stayed overnight have woken up at their own pace – some were awakened by early birdsong and have seen the sunrise, while others are still enjoying a much-desired good night's sleep. Everyone has breakfast at their own time and then gets down to work. There are always plenty of things waiting to be done in and around the buildings and the garden, and everyone can find some job to their liking. For instance: sawing wood, weeding, pruning trees, sweeping away the fallen leaves or scrubbing the kitchen floor. Vegetables are chopped for the soup that is then put on the ‘Louvain’ stove where it slowly simmers.
At 12 o'clock the group meets near the walnut tree in the garden. After a round of names, the group chooses how they want to celebrate noon, for example with a game, a silent walk in the garden, or a joint text reading. Those who wish can also take a refreshing dip in the splash pond. The table is set – inside or outside, depending on the season – for a lunch with soup, bread and cheese. After lunch and washing up, everyone can continue working.
3 pm-6 pm
At 3 p.m. there is another round of names near the walnut tree. The group chooses a place for having the afternoon snack, which consists of tea, fruits and other treats. For this it is the custom that you cannot take for yourself, but take and prepare something for someone else, and preferably for the person you know the least. This soon creates the pleasant activity of serving others.
After three o'clock everyone who is not staying overnight is waved goodbye, and the gate of the Brewery closes. This gives the people who stay overnight the opportunity to form a closer group in the afternoon and evening. They first prepare for dinner, and when the pots and pans are on the stove, it is time to go to the bakehouse. The bakehouse is a silent place where people do not speak, but they do write. By exchanging notes with one another, people can share in writing their thoughts and concerns. These written conversations are often an easier way to express thoughts and feelings that can sometimes be difficult to talk or ask about face to face.
6 pm-9 pm
The evening starts at 6 pm. After a short meeting near the walnut tree, final preparations are made for the food, and people can have a wash, men and women separately. After the common meal they go to the bakehouse for a second time. There, the calmness of the written conversations offers the opportunity to get to know yourself and the others even better. At 9 pm, the residents of the Old Brewery together bring a close to the day with a cup of tea and a treat around the warmth of the Louvain stove. At this evening meeting, jobs that could be done are written down for inspiration for the next day, and thanks are given for everything the day has brought. Also, the group decides on a typical and often playful name for the day. Then it's time for a well-earned night's sleep.