Co-operative Community – Hjortshøj, DK

Hjortshøj, picture by Anne Sigrid Nordby

Hjortshøj, picture by Anne Sigrid Nordby

The Co-operative Community is in Denmark, about 15 km northwest of Aarhus in the outskirts of Hjortshøj with detached houses and residential areas on one side and a view of Aarhus Bay on the other. It was founded in 1986. Today, there are about 85 families with 220 adults and children living at Hjortshøy.


Houses are built with an aim to be environmentally sustainable (e.g., rammed clay, earth blocks, wood, paper insulation, solar collectors, ovens, paint from linen oil etc).

There are 5 Co-House Groups and 2 more are planned. About 10 to 20 families belongs to each co-house Groups. The housing types are twin houses or row houses. There are also 4 common buildings as meeting places for the different co-house groups, as well as an exhibition and office building.


A goal was that fewer people have cars and more people use bicycles. The inhabitants have the option to join the local car-sharing association

Wast + Water
– There is an energy association providing hot water from a wood-pellet and a wood chip burning boiler
– Separation toilets or compost toilets are used
– Collected faeces is composted and used to fertilize energy-willow plantation
– Collected rainwater is used in the common washing machines
– Collected grey water is evaporated in a energy willow plantation

Lifestyle + Consumption

AiH aims to be an example of a holistic way of living with sustainability in respect to both ecological, economical and social aspects of life. This approach is visible in many ways the daily life of the community, for instance:

– Organic farming, with animals like chicken, cows, and goats
– Optional joining of organic vegetable-growing group
– Optional common dinner three days a week
– Common social events, sports and arrangements
– Cultural evenings and days with music, dance, story telling
– Michels’s Eco-green: which is a commercial organic vegetable farming  and organic ice cream production
– Biodiversity care: Re-establishment of a lake in August 2001


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