A group of residents from Boerdonk (a small village in the Netherlands) bought “Herberg ’t Mirakel”. The hotel-café in the middle of the village had been for sale for a long time. By taking action the inhabitants of the village take measures into their own hands.
The purchase contract was signed last Monday, reports one of the initiators, Antoon Donkers. ,, We knew that another party had advanced plans to buy the inn and to convert it into a hotel for thirty migrant workers. The application to change the destination plan was already submitted to the municipality. And plasterer company Van Rooij from Hedel (a small village in the Netherlands) had already made plans in commission. ”
With the purchase, ‘t Mirakel is preserved for the village which has 800 inhabitants. Donkers: ,, We were just ahead of those buyers. The housing of labor migrants, together with the disappearance of ‘t Mirakel would really be a decline for the quality of life in the village. Because we think the quality of life in our village is important, we buy ‘t Mirakel for around € 595,000 with thirty inhabitants plus the inventory of € 15,000. Each one pays 10,000 euros. Depending on the number of participants, we take out a mortgage for the remaining amount. In two days we already had 22 people who wanted to participate. I have every confidence that we get more than 30 buyers together. ”
On Wednesday there is an information evening for interested parties. Donkers: ,, We will set up a foundation for the purchase and those who are co-owners will soon share in the return. ”
With the purchase the business, which gets a different name, will be preserved for the village. The focus remains on the hotel function, but in the weekends the café opens for the village.
The owners are Imca and Denny van Lankveld. They now have a bed and breakfast in France, but come back for this. Antoon Donkers: ,, We knew that they wanted to run ‘t Mirakel. They tried to rent the building, but the current owners only wanted to sell it. Now the foundation ‘t Mirakel is going to buy and leases it to Imca and Denny van Lankveld. ”
The purchase of ‘t Mirakel fits into a trend in Boerdonk, where inhabitants collectively ensure that the quality of life in the village is maintained. Yesterday there was a second village meeting about the establishment of a village cooperative. Initiators from the village cooperative in Esbeek (small village in the Netherlands) explained how they approached it. In Boerdonk the idea is that participants pay an annual contribution of 25 euros each year. For specific projects fundraising campaigns will be started. People can put in money starting from 250 euros. With an investment higher than a 1000 euros they share in the profit of such a project.
What kind of projects could that be? During the first meeting three months ago Donkers mentioned an example: “With the money you generate as a cooperative, you could fill up stables and barns in the village with solar panels and supply the whole village with power. With a cooperative you are more decisive, you can get things off the ground that are not working now. “