The idea of the cooperative society was born in 1986 when Jørg Gaugler and Kaj Hansen presented their vision of a sustainable community in an evening class at the University of Aarhus. Their vision was shared by several participants and in 1987 the group formed the "Association for the Creation of a Cooperative Ecovillage in Aarhus". The goal was to put theory into practice and build a social and organic community.
The vision was and remains to create a sustainable lifestyle that, in our lifetime, could be a living and practical alternative to the normal way of life of society. This idea played a central role in this vision.
In 1987, the project was presented to the Municipality of Aarhus, which reacted positively by proposing three possible sites. The choice fell on Hjortshøj, 15 km north-east of Aarhus, where residents of the city said yes to a cooperative ecovillage. In collaboration with the municipality, a local plan was developed to allow future residents to influence construction choices. The initial objective was to reach a size of about 500 people with an agricultural zone that allows a relative food self-sufficiency.
However, before the construction could begin, the association had to prove to the Municipality that it was possible to meet applicable standards with new techniques such as rammed earth or the use of new materials such as cellulose wadding, non-wood impregnated, natural paintings, etc.
Thus, in 1990, we built a test house voluntarily called Petersbourg. The building of the test house taught us a lot for later constructions. This experience also made us create our first company, Okotech, a construction firm. In 1991, thanks to the success of this first realization we bought our first plot : the first group could finally begin its construction. The 10 terraced houses were built by Okotech and the residents themselves.
Simultaneously, a group wanting rental housing was established in 1992 and, after 4 years of planning, the first tenants moved in 1996.
The groups then multiplied, they are now eight in the ecovillage, where we live at 300 people of all ages.
In the early 2000s a group of residents worked to create an inclusion project for adults with intellectual disabilities (group 6) and to create the necessary conditions to integrate them into the ecovillage. The association Vimby was created and lead this ambitious project to term thanks to public and private funds.