To be at home in the abbey
“I am originally from Laren, but my home is here in the abbey”, says brother Isaac. He is part of the community of monks living in the Koningshoeven abbey that is known for La Trappe, the Trappist ale. At the abbey, the monks are guided by the principle of sustainability, which is one of the reasons why brother Isaacs feels so much at home.
People, planet, profit, profound
Isaac Majoor came to live at the abbey in 1995. After a career in health care and doing development work in Cameroon and Mali, he felt the urge to become a monk: “It is a process that is not guided by reason, but that comes from within. After two years I knew that the Koningshoeven was the right place for me.” The community of monks lives according to its own four Ps: people, planet, profit, profound.
They are involved with the environment and society day and night. Brother Isaac: “We are trendsetters, people are slow to adapt.” Where possible, they use solar energy, they catch the sun’s heat and drive a Tesla. “Currently, we are developing an economical, circular water treatment. By doing this, we want to be sustainable in as many areas as possible. We hope that other people will follow our lead”, the monk says contently.
Responsible for the next generation
He continues, calm and with conviction: “We want to leave a better world behind than we were given and we feel responsible for the next generation”. To invest in the future, we are making new connections and we are listening to the young generation. They are much more used to thinking fast and are able to switch quickly. They have good ideas.” Particularly in Tilburg, the abbey is making connections. “I like it that young entrepreneurs in Tilburg easily adapt themselves to my rhythm. That they are there for you when things need to be done at night.” The monks work together with employees from Diamant and Prins Heerlijk. The abbey does a lot for the hidden poor. “Just like us, there are many parties in Tilburg that are involved in social activities”, the monk says.
Locally, but also internationally
The monks are able to help others and live sustainably because of the money they make from the brewery, bakery, cheese dairy, abbey store and by making preserves. All these shops form part of the abbey. The brothers are represented in the management board of the brewery. However, the operational management and brewing isn’t done by the monks. Isaac: “Nevertheless, the ideas from the abbey have an impact on the brewery. It was the abbey that encouraged the brewery to brew organic beer.” Because of the brewery, they operate on an international level. In contrast, the store is focussed on the local market. “The goat milk comes from the local, organic goat farmer and fifty percent of the barley come from our own land. Stimulate the economy is important to us”, the brother concludes.
The product can be seen as part of the exhibition 'Tilburg and its makers' at Hotel Mercure, Heuvelpoort 300, Tilburg.