Waerbeke | October 2014

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Waerbeke stream which runs through Dender-Marke, one of several nationally recognized tranquil areas in Belgium.

Heuvelland Tranquilizer

My friend, IPOS producer Andrew Brumme and I once traveled to the Flanders region of Belgium to meet with a group called Waerbeke, an organization established in 2001 to bring more silence into every sphere of daily life and has successfully done that on many fronts. There we met with some of the minds behind Waerbeke, toured a nationally designated “tranquility area”, and spent an evening in the founder’s farmhouse surrounded by nothing but the greenest of green as far as the eye could see. Regretfully, the incredible story we had captured was ultimately cut from the film, but their work planted many seeds for me and continues to be a source of inspiration.

Among their innovate work was a project called the Heuvelland Tranquilizer. Cleverly designed to mimic a prescription medication, this ingenious concept consisted of 10 “doses” of tranquility each detailed on a fold-out card which included a map leading to a private and tranquil space in the town of Heuvelland, a poem inspired by it, a photograph, and a artist’s sketch among other things. We were lucky enough to receive 2 or 3 “doses” during our short visit there and they were magical. The Heuvelland Tranquilizer box was made available in stores all over Belgium and was even prescribed by doctors. Below are some photos of the Tranquilizer I brought home with me from Belgium.

A raw interview clip with Dirk Sturtewagen, director / founder of Waerbeke