Skip to main content

Pueblos abandados

Ardbol started on 14 March with a first meeting with Liselotte after a week there was an other woman, Matricia, joining but within day's both already left. Leaving Maaike and me alone, back to finding new help.

In June I noticed that a woman in the meeting of climate cleanup had a foreign last name, so I asked her if she could speak Spanish. Although her parents are German and Italian and she lives in Holland she also had room in her head for speaking Spanish, amazing! Besides that she studied biomimicry and had a lot of drive and energy.

So with the new miniteam we started to have general meetings and Yasmin gathered a lot of information. She brought us into contact with a couple of people and we worked on getting the idea behind Ardbol more concrete. A first aim was to find about 10ha of land with some ruins on it.

Because of the Corona time we could not got to Spain so we mostly did work online. Doing courses, following webinars and searching land to buy. Yasmin came across an article about an empty village and that got me thinking. It would most probably be more easy to buy an empty village and then add some hectares of land to it than buy land and try to get a building permit. 

After some evenings spent in searching I learned that there are about 3.000 empty villages in Spain. And that I needed to search on 'pueblos' and 'abandonados'. More evenings searching and trying to find something online, when I came across 

I went through the long list of options, many where in the mountains, villages left empty after a mine shutdown. More were in the far south of Spain and most were in the far west above Portugal, the poorest part of Spain. As the website kept the location hidden it was quite difficult to find the right ones to visit. We wanted to be able to get there by train in one day, so I started looking in the North East part of Spain but South West enough to get into the dry zone, out of the beautiful mountains and wet coast.

I found two and Maaike sent an email but they replied with a phone number, so Yasmin called them. We could visit them both. Exciting new step on our road to our Ardbol project!


Popular posts from this blog

The first week of work

After the transaction we had time to think about what we could do in the village, as now we are the owners. The next option for us to go to Spain was in the autumn holidays. Earlier on we tried to combine it with Spanish classes for the kids, but we couldn’t arrange extra free time from school, so we had to stick to the one week of school vacation. We thought about starting at one of the houses which is in the relative good condition, like getting a door, so we could close it and store stuff there. But we had no electricity or tools as we had no space to keep stuff safe. So we were kind of stuck in a chicken and egg problem. To get out of this we set up a plan to get a container which we could lock. But that would not be there for this vacation. Then Maaike’s parents asked: “Would it be of any use if we were there with some tools to clear away the burrs, bushes and so on?” Of course that would be great! We were happy that they were enthusiastic and by itself there was a plan to do

El Vicino

In May we went to 'our' village to show it to the parents of Maaike. So we drove there and after a half our drive with a lot of corners we were a bit drowsy getting out of the car. And there stood a friendly man in blue overalls.  He seemed Spanish we asked Maaike to talk to him. But she did not know what to say. So we looked at each other for a couple of minutes.  Then he started to tell that the village is empty which we agreed upon off course. He also told that the village was being bought by some people. Maaike asked if she should reply and we said yes please do. After telling the we are the mysterious people we are buying the village he started to tell a lot of stories. His name is Gerardo. He was born in the village and now lives in Burgos and in the summer in Abajas.  He knew about the buy because he owns a parcel of land and did not want to sell. He want to keep it for income and only wants to rent it out. So we talked about that for a bit and as we were interested in k

Finding the right pieces of land

When we first visited B├írcena de Bureba we where guided by the current owner Marcelino. As we where interested, we told him about our project Ardbol. We explained him that we needed about 5 to 10 hectares of land. He replied that it was no problem, he knew many farmers in the area. Soon we got an image of the land area (See image below) from Marcelino without any explanation but it looked promising.  We assumed the black crosses where the pieces of land we could buy. When I checked it on the Spanish cadastral website some pieces where quite clear but some existed out of many small parts.  After the price negotiation we where anxiously waiting on which pieces of land we could buy. In august we got a large zipfile with new information. As Yasmin could not open it and we where on mobiles we needed to wait until we where behind a computer, which of course added on to the tension. Finally we could open it. In it where 64 files. 60 of each house and 4 for the land. See the next image in whic