What’s in a name?

With this first blog we would like to zoom in on the meaning of the name we choose for our experiment. Our intentions are extensively described here, but why ‘Her Berg’?

Let us start, as is commonly done, with the good old dictionary, where ‘herberg’ is defined in most cases as a place where people from all sorts can gather, eat and/or sleep. Usually a simply, modest accommodation. In English it is usually called an innguest house or in the old days even pub when it was a common thing to sleep there as well.

Herberg is composed of the words ‘her’ (sir or army) en ‘berg’ (storehouse). It is a rather traditional name, which is nowadays a bit out of fashion but still evokes feelings of ‘gezelligheid’, a word so Dutch we need an entire Wikipedia page to describe it. In short: very, very, cosy, but then slightly different.

Alright, enough of the dictionary. Let’s move on to what meaning we give to it.

A place, check. Where people from all sorts can meet, sleep and eat, check. A lot of ‘gezelligheid’, check.

But for us, the meaning of Her Berg goes further than that. You might wonder why we’ve divided Her Berg in two words. Let’s be honest: we were a bit forced to be creative since the website herberg.org was already taken 😉 And we love every ‘berg’ (‘mountain’ in Dutch). But the main reason is to illustrate Her Berg is not a property that belongs to us personally. We don’t own it, we don’t make profit out of it. Her Berg belongs to everyone, we are just the farmers taking care of it by developing, renovating and maintaining the place. So, we decided to symbolise a universal owner and named him/her ‘Her Berg’. Henrik thinks it’s a bit far-fetched, Anne likes the idea and will try to convince Henrik of it in the coming months (help is greatly appreciated).

However, there are more important things to worry about. According to 99% of the scientists, we are currently in a serious ecologic crisis. In our believe, the long-term solution is to find new ways to be part of nature again instead of using it solely for our own benefit. A recent study of the UN illustrates that about one million of the estimated eight million species are threatened with extinction in the coming decades, directly threatening our own existence as well. Solutions offered are: better land use, consuming less and protecting thirty percent of the world’s space as a nature preserve (instead of the current fifteen per cent).

Her Berg will be our first step to contribute to the latter, by developing nature preserves in ways that can still include human activity. Our place in Scandinavia will be the first one, hopefully followed by many around the world. To create and restore nature for our and future generations. It is a journey with a open end and we embrace the security of insecurity. What drives us is pretty clear: nature is calling!

That’s it for now, with the following blogs we’ll keep you posted about our future adventures and discoveries. But not before sharing below the beautiful poem of Rumi about our favourite guest houses.

Yours sincerely on behalf of Her Berg,

Anne and Henrik

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