Makvärket - man beachte die schaukelnden Leute in der Mitte des Bildes in der Öffnung im Haus!

Makvärket – pay attention to the swinging people, visible in the opening in the house in the center of the drawing ! (kind of hard to recognize, though)

Etappe X: von Svendborg nach Makvärket (man musste den Zug nehmen um von der einen Insel zur anderen zu kommen)

Stage 10: from Svendborg to Makvärket (I had to take a train to get from one island to the other)

I arrived pretty exhausted at Makvärket in the evening. It is an ancient ceramics factory, which is filled up with new life by a modley crowd of people.  Almost the first thing that happened, after I was completly overwhelmed by the first impression, having put my stuff in a sleeping-room, was sauna. Sunday is sauna-day. Okay, I haven’t been in the sauna for about 12 years. I think, I had too much of it after non-stop-sauna with my family in an alpine-hut. But well, things change. I also eat broccoli and I like it, why not try sauna one more time. So we went once around the gigantic clinker building on a big meadow. Next to the sauna-cabin there was a hobbit-like cottage, a yurt and a massage bank (a body’s silhouette sewed out of plywood, sleeping pad glued onto it). Sauna was totally fine, actually, they also didn’t heat it up so much. Then, in the setting sun, we poured cold water over each other’s head. Quiet kitschy-cliché-paradise-like, haha! Well cooked, the 100 Kilometer in my legs changed from potentialy hellish muscle ache to pleasant exhaustion. After we were having vegan homemade pizza for dinner all together, I slept like a baby.


I found a volume of an old danish encyclopedia in the free-shop and catched some moments in drawings, like this stock of old ceramic-moulds which are still standing around everywhere. They are really beautiful!!

Makvärket is a neologism. Translated word by word it says ‘botch factory’. But the meaning is more ‘improvisation factory’. It’s about to reach the best possible with the means that are available. Also if that’s not perfect in the end.

Somebody bought the decaying brick buildings for one crown and since then they are transformed slowly but surely into a wonderful place of collective living. The people are puttering day after day about different projects, renovating rooms, plastering walls in traditional technique with different coloured clay, building bunk-beds, pulling up weeds, throwing slugs as far away as possible, repairing bicycles, mowing meadows with the scythe, there are a 1000 things to do!
During the week I spend there, I turned the lamps- and wires stockage upside down and found 10 out of 50 lamps that were fine and put together another 10 with the spare parts. And then I fixed some in the new sleeping rooms on the beds. My masterpieces were just lamp sockets screwed into old plastic boxes as lampshades. Besides I helped plastering one of the walls with blue clay. And in the hallway, I painted some fantasy-animals.

Der Wald war schon da, mit einer Aufforderung, doch Tiere hineinzumalen. Ich bin dem nachgekommen..

The forest was already there, with the demand to add some animals. I followed..

With all these tasks to be done, also to take care about eating, would be quite irritating and keeping back. That has often been a problem here at Quelle. You are working half a day, are really into it, but at some point you just can’t go on because the belly wants to be refilled. And then, to get food from somewhere, never mind to prepare it, is really hard. At Makvärket, this is different:  Every weekday there are 3 fix meals –  breakfast at 8:30, lunch at 12:30 and dinner at 19h. Every morning they arrange, who is taking care of which meal. (and also who is watering the garden and who will go dumpster-diving, if necessary) So you cook 3 times a week for 15 people, but the rest of the time you don’t have to worry about that. And when all the vegetables, fruits, bread and lemoncakes are finished, a team, armed with headlamps, a pile of boxes and gloves, is going to raid the dumpsters of the next small town. A car, filled up to the top, is enough for about one week, depending on how many people are staying at the factory at the moment. The boxes are emptied in the evening and the morning after, the prey is washed, also the plastic-packaging of the lemoncakes (there are tons of it every time, apparently). Everything is put into a drip-dry rack and later is sorted into the stock.


The dragon-shaped clay-stove in the gigantic living- and dining room. Its going round along the wall and you can sit on it. Surely awasome in wintertime!

I think, the Makvärket-Collektive is the best organised and cleanest community I’ve seen so far. Every monday is cleaning day. Once a week, the current staff gets together for the “Factory Meeting”.

Every time, this list is worked through:

At first there is an introductory-round with

  • Name
  • Pronoun (that means you say whether you want to be called he or she. Actually a matter of course, you would say. But there is a good thing, to see exactly this not as a matter of course)
  • Allergies or vegan/vegetarian
  • Flashlight (short “report” about how you are going)

Then, there is a round with Messages, means, everyone who has something to tell to the others, can do it here.

Next thing is the collection of agenda-points and then one after the other is discussed.

The distribution of the weekly responsabilities followed, I think. Who takes care about

  • keeping the kitchen in order
  • garden, (watering, defend against the snails, …)
  • bringing out the compost (I took that one)
  • living and dining room
  • workshops
  • freeshop

Afterwards, there was the hosting-update, requests are being discussed and denied or accepted. And if so, a kind of ‘parent’ for every incoming person or group is chosen.

Next point was skillsharing. People could say what they can show or if they want to learn a specific thing. Quite a lot came together: A welding-workshop, a running-workshop and a lecture about lucid dreaming.

And finally the funny things: Cultural evenings can be proposed. A jam session and a sports and games evening were convened!

Das große Monatsplenum

The big monthly plenum.

By accident, the big mothly meeting took place when I was there. But is was apparently above-average relaxed, because everybody was on holidays at the moment or just returned from holidays or soon would leave for holidays. The longest discussion was about who should be invited to the Makvärket-trip. Normally it takes the whole day with, lunch-break and so on…

Der Dachboden, so gut wie leer. Nur ein paar Regale mit Keramik-Gussformen standen rum.

The attic, almost empty. Only a few shelves with ceramic-mouldes were standing around. HJÆLEM RÅ!, which was sprayed in red over the door means “helmet on!” May be some bricks could fall down…

With the time, the Makvärklers set up a gigantic material-stockage. You can find almost every somehow needed thing you can think about. In one room, there is the wood, in another different sorts of tiles, in the next room washing machines and cookers, one shelf with paint pots, one stock with tables and caports. And again and again you can find the remains of the old factory in between. In the freeshop, for example, the old ceramic-ovens are still standing.


The library in the freeshop.

On the meadow in front of the house are 6 compost-toilets, in which you can relieve yourself in some tanks. I have no idea how they get the shit out of that again… And there is a solar-shower which is wonderfully roomy. You are standing on pebbles and the sun-warmed water runs over you. After that you can dry yourself on the meadow in the sun. Also worth mentioning is the at least 15 meter high treehouse, where you can also spend the night. Unfortunately, I missed that one. Next time!

Schaukeln vor dem Geräteschuppen mit Blick auf den Garten. Große Teile des Bodens sind verseucht, was die Nutzung erschwert...

The swings in front of the tool shed with view on the garden. Big parts of the soil is contaminated, which makes usage difficult…

What I didn’t understand, was that there was not a single Danish person there. From time to time some were passing by and also for the big meeting many Danes came. But no locals were staying permanently at the place. Which made it a bit hostel-like… I don’t like that too much… And for the people living there, the fluctuation is very exhausting, I think. Anyhow, I heard that these people are “tired”. And are thinking about leaving. But it has to be mentioned, that I was there during the silly season. We even had a chat about this word, that it exists in every language but in a different way: the German Sommerloch would mean summer-hole and the danish agurketid is the cucumber-time. Nevertheless, so much stuff was going on!

Makvärket was a place, where I could have drawn forever. Here is the rest of my impressions:

Einen Teil des Ganges zwischen den beiden Gebäuden haben sie mit Glas überdacht. Der Rest soll nächsten Sommer mit der Unterstützung von Axt und Kelle gemacht werden.

A part of the hallway between the two buildings they roofed over with glas. The rest is supposed to be done next summer with the support of “Axt und Kelle”.

Die Terrasse. Ist wirklich überwältigend schön.

The terrasse. Really overwhelming beautiful!

After 10 days in this paradise-bubble I left with one of the Makvärklers by bike to Copenhagen.

Thats enough now! I will devide part 3 – Makvärket and Copenhagen with this in two parts.

As a consequence up to come: part 4 – Copenhagen and back home.

Here you can read part 1 und part 2 of my bicycle-trip-report.

3 Responses to Makvärket

  • Simone

    Hi! great reportage from a great place, thank you for sharing.And Beautiful drawings. are you coming by here again? it’s already cold enough and snowy. Peace from Svinö. Simone

    • Luhukasu

      thank you! so far I have other plans, to go to france… but when I would like to go back there one day. You were there as well? (I am not sure if you understood that I am not andi? because I am not so much into cycling in the snow ;) he invited me to join his blog)

    • Happy Homeless Hippie
      Happy Homeless Hippie

      Hej simone, I’m just about to prepare coffee but the leftovers from yesterday became a solid frozen issue. Winter is slowly arriving here as well. I moved to a beautiful forest near Berlin (about 50-100 crazy people, 50ha forest and some ‘squatted’ old Stasi-Buildings ). Very comfortable, I have two tarps and I love pinewood :)
      How are you, how is your family? nice to hear from you.
      Do you have ever been dumpstering in storsvik? I really recommend, i even remember the village name. we were really hard struggeling puzzleing the treasures on our cycles. we made even use of the top secret dumpster bike packing technique (eating a lot of chocolate directly out of the bin, so it just disappears from attention)… but were just able to pack a small part.

      The story above is not from me. Luhukasu wrote it. We were cycling in the baltics this summer together with beautiful bike loving people from ecotopia biketour… other story, another time

      Do you want to post your italy-sweden bike adventures here? in swedish or italian? Would be really nice. If you want.

      wish you a warm comfortable winter. hhuii, i remember your lovely kitchen with more than 40°C difference to the outside world. And a window that appeared quite panoramic when the sun rises and sets at the same place ;)

      spread some hugs to your family. Greetings Andi


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