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Year-round outdoor life Dave and Sonya lost everything and now build a new eco-village

[Published in the 'Blik op Portugal' magazine / October issue 2021]

Dave Hemminga (founder of CO Cerro Mouro) escaped the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam eight years ago. Together with his family, they found their destination on the rugged west coast of the Algarve. He does not want to keep that 'life changing experience' to himself. After thorough preparatory work, he is now launching CO Cerro Mouro. A unique building project in south-west Portugal: 24 eco-houses in a Natura 2000 area where quality of life, community and sustainability are central.


Dave Hemminga changed course. He was creative in the advertising sector, lived in Amsterdam with his young family and travelled (too) much. In a material sense, it was great, but it was wrong on all sides: 'I ran from project to project and lived in a bubble. It was all about money and prestige. The inner emptiness increased: I would rather do something for others. Numerous discussions with my wife Sonya determined our choice. We bought an old Mercedes bus and went on a journey. We landed in the rugged countryside of south-west Portugal. We lived in the bus and in a yurt. The plan was to stay three months. It turned out to be 8 years! For years Dave and Sonya ran the ecological glamping site 'Into the Wild Algarve' there, where people could completely relax.

But in the summer of 2019, their paradise ECO Glamping became a smouldering site due to forest fires. A gigantic slap in the face, then followed by the Corona blow. Forced to move, the family moved into a rented house, overwhelmed by grief and helplessness. But out of this powerlessness a new plan grew: 'We wanted to give our experiences with nature and community a more permanent form. Thus arose the project CO Cerro Mouro".

In love with nature

With CO Cerro Mouro, Hemminga launches a co-living project in Barão de São João. This village borders the immense nature reserve 'Costa Vicentina'. A peaceful place, in the middle of the rough nature that Hemminga and his family are in love with. According to Hemminga's plans, by the end of 2024 there will be 24 luxury ecological houses here, where modern comfort goes hand-in-hand with living in this environment. Nine detached houses, four semi-detached houses, five semi-detached two-storey houses, six flats and six semi-commercial spaces and studios. All spaces are intended for couples, families, entrepreneurs, digital nomads and whoever needs a get-away in nature.

Comfortable and ecological

Nature and sustainability play the leading role in this building project. With their light colour, natural materials and low construction, the houses seem to merge into the sloping landscape. Hemminga: 'In terms of appearance, the houses, construction of which will start in 2023, ware in line with Portuguese tradition. We are building as much as possible with ecological materials: timber frame, locally produced insulation, all very environmentally friendly. Timber frame construction with natural insulation increases living comfort in all seasons. The stunning result: 24 houses that are energy-efficient and at the same time offer a high level of living comfort, thanks to their innovative design.

New ways of living and working

With his co-living, eco-friendly building project, Hemminga meets the need for living space and lots of nature that city dwellers crave, especially after corona. People want to get out of the city. Many work more online and are looking for new ways to connect. In the CO Cerro Mouro project, all those things come together.' Portugal sounds like music to many people's ears. But how do you actually realise that? Hemminga knows that investing in a property abroad is a big step. That is why we offer the expertise of international lawyers and tax consultants. Potential buyers can go there with all their questions. In this way, we directly contribute to unburdening the buyer. The guidance is very professional and secures the purchase in all respects. 


An edible landscape

To make the dream of a real community come true, Hemminga hopes for adventurers who, by buying one of the eco-lodges, make their own dreams come true: "A friend of mine really likes baking bread and wants to start his own bakery here. That fits perfectly. But I also think of a yoga studio, a spa or a café; such initiatives fit perfectly into the concept.' Portuguese neighbours are welcome to hold an exhibition in one of the rooms. The new hectare food forest - edible landscape - is an integral part of the project. Outdoor life is celebrated exuberantly throughout the year. In this way, a bridge to the local community can be built in an organic way. CO Cerro Mouro is the place where people inspire each other, enjoy life and the beautiful nature. For me, this is what life is all about', says Dave. His personal experiences have developed into a mission - forward-looking and completely of this time.

Some important info :)

Dave and Sonya with family are going to live in one of the houses themselves and therefore invite interested candidates to contact them for any questions and a pleasant informative talk via Zoom or simply on the gorgeous location.

[Source: 'Blik op Portugal' October issue 2021]

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