Venwoude is a place for conscious growth and healing into wholeness. The 40-acre estate and its surroundings are a unique place for reflection, awareness, personal growth, sustainable living and connection. This peaceful sanctuary in the forests of Lage Vuursche, in the centre of the Netherlands, offers (inter)national companies, trainers, teachers and individuals the possibility to enjoy or organize retreats, workshops, events and accommodation.
“We believe that every human being has the desire to develop, feel whole, to know their inner self and to feel free to live to his or her full potential. Personal development and awareness are, according to us, the keys to connect to our pure self. To be able to live and act consciously. Venwoude facilitates the daily routine and offers the possibility to turn the gaze inward. To focus on the ‘being’ instead of doing.”
Venwoude has grown from a community into a ‘tribe’. An organization that co-operates with and supports national and international companies, trainers and teachers in organizing retreats and workshops. Supported by a group of enthusiastic employees, volunteers, residents and others involved. We aim to work with pleasure, inspiration, sustainability and awareness. A place where organizers return frequently. And where we continuously work together to optimize the available group facilities and possibilities.
Center Venwoude was founded in 1988 by the late Ted Wilson and initially started off as a community. Through retreats, year trainings and education it then developed further as a place for consciousness development. Different names it has carried throughout the years are the School for Body & Soul, the Institute for Emotional Bodywork (1999) and Venwoude Levensschool (2015).
The people working and living at Venwoude where always able to look at possibilities and what the estate needed to grow further. This has led e.g. to the beautiful new training facility ‘Lariks’, a state of the art building for large groups. Accommodation for up to 25 people is also included here.
Since April 2020 a new management team is operating at Venwoude and it continues to develop as a renowned retreat center of (inter)national allure. Key words are sustainability, connection with nature, facilitating daily routine and professionalise without losing the soul of Venwoude.
Venwoude’s 40-acre estate is situated in a nature sanctuary in the woods of Lage Vuursche, 16 kilometers or 10 miles north of the city of Utrecht in the center of the Netherlands. Away from the noise of modern life, the deep quietude emanating from the majestic beech and pine trees is palpable on the entire terrain. This makes Venwoude an ideal environment for personal growth, consciousness work and spiritual transformation.
Heart of the estate is the pond (‘ven’ in Dutch) from which Venwoude derives its name.
The two main buildings are the white Villa (with kitchen and dining room) and the glass Pyramid. Scattered over the grounds are various group facilities and sleeping accommodations. At the edge of the Sun Meadow there is a small sauna. A meditation garden and walking spiral in the wood invite you into even deeper contact with nature.
Each and every corner radiates beauty, harmony and an eye for detail.
Diving into the history of this region, you will encounter prehistoric burial mounds, medieval manors and traces of peat-winning, as well as mention of 19th-century measures against desertification.
Flowers and plants
Due to the loving care that we extend to our many borders, terraces and lawns with inviting benches, they are a feast for the eye all year round.
We grow a variety of fresh herbs in our own kitchen garden. A large part of the beautiful flower arrangements in the Villa and the Pyramid come from our own gardens, just as the many flowers in pots and borders around the Villa.
Pond and forest
Heart of the estate is the pond or the Dutch name ‘ven’ from which Venwoude derives its name. Over time, through careful eco-management, a unique biotope has developed here, including various species of salamanders, frogs and toads. There are also ring snakes and experts have been able to count up to 20 species of dragonflies.
You can spot up to seven different birds of prey on our estate, as well as roes and foxes.
“Cooking is an act of love” says a maxim on the wall of Venwoude’s kitchen. Just how tasty and variable vegetarian food can be is proven every day by our cooks, who are all well-trained in wholefood cooking.
Apart from solid Dutch cooking we serve dishes from all over the world. We follow the seasons and strive for a good balance regarding taste, digestibility and nutritional value.
Organic and predominantly vegetarian food
As much as possible we serve fresh, organic, local products that are cultivated with respect for people, animals, wildlife and the environment. Sometimes our vegetables literally come straight from the farm – which you can definitely see and taste!
We also make a conscious choice in eating vegetarian. Simply because that is more healthy overall, more animal-friendly and less taxing on the environment and climate of our planet.
90% of our meals is plant based. There is always enough choice available. Without any additional costs we can make meals 100% vegan or lactose-free and/or glutenfree. We do charge some extra costs for medical diets and other exceptions, in agreement with the head chef. This is because we prepare meals for multiple groups and therefore it is not possible to take into account everybody’s personal diet preferences.