Writing Week ‘Time to Write’ 2019

The third edition of our annual writing week 'Time to Write' took place from June 1st till June 8th and we look back with a smile on our face. We had a 'full house', with the program being sold out and two Portuguese cooks (Hugo and Nuno) singing in the kitchen. Laughter was heard all day long, everyone worked hard, the food was always good and friends were made.
This is one of those events where the qualities of Moinhos do Dão can be experienced in full. Everyone has a comfy bed, the showers are warm and the food is healthy and with respect for nature. The terrain has places for group activities and for individual privacy and the central area around the kitchen is cozy and provides a nice place for communal meals. We are looking forward to the next group event!

Working on a new activity ~ Caminho do Dão

Walking is one of the most basic of activities we can engage in and it can generate a profound connection to the world around us, the people we walk with and to ourselves. When we walk we experience a one on one with the world and all its phenomena. If you want to get to know a place, you walk through it. The pilgrim walks to be present and to experience regeneration. Many philosophers and sages (Nietsche, Thoreau, The Buddha, Ghandi etc.) have gone before us and it was during the act of walking that their insights came and their work manifested. The Dão river and valley provide an interesting set of conditions that are ideal for developing a caminho that is dedicated to this connection to the world and to ourselves.

The goal of the Caminho do Dão project is to facilitate an experience of being in a healthy relationship with ourselves, others and the natural world that we are part of.


30 Years of Natural Delight ~ Moinhos do Dão 1989 – 2019

It was in the year 1989 that Ria van Dien (Maria for the Portuguese) first set foot on 'the Moinhos', then known as Moinhos da Costa, after the name of the man that built this mill complex in the 1930's: José Costa. The quinta had been abandoned 8 years before by the grandchildren of José who had had enough of a pretty hard life down here in the Dão valley. To Ria, who had ideas for a small guest business, the quinta had a strong appeal, being on the river, surrounded by abundant nature and with enough potential to develop something special for family, friends and guests. With a vision and the help of friends, family and volunteers Ria, step by step, brought out the potential of the buildings and terrain and we are thankful for her courage to undertake this project and do it with a feeling for creating a nice atmosphere.

For 30 years now Moinhos do Dão has been a place where people come to enjoy being in nature and experience a simple life for a while without unnecessary luxury.

In 2013 we (Steven Barich and Freya van Dien, Ria's daughter) came to live at the quinta and this is the 6th year we are here at Moinhos do Dão.


Sharing the experience with dedicated and kind volunteers.

The year 2018 has brought so many kind volunteers to be part of the quinta for a while. It was an all round uplifting experience and confirmed once again that sharing the experience with a variety of people enriches and deepens the experience. We are thankful: Britta, Lena, Lily, Marcel, Raffa, Olivia, Liedewij, the family van Dien, Bionic Piet, and the many others that helped the MdD thrive.

Writing Week 2018

For the second year in a row Moinhos do Dão hosted a Creative Writing Retreat with Mariette Wijne. She described the spirit of the week as follows: ‘Their writing made the roses bud’. 
An image says more than a thousand words (even when it is about a Writing Retreat) so we posted a photo gallery of the week. 

Fire Prevention Campaign – A call for support.

Moinhos do Dão made it through last year without any damage from the fires that ripped through Central Portugal in the summer and fall.  The fires destroyed more than half a million hectares of forest, agricultural lands, monocultures, 850 houses and 450 businesses…and left 104 people dead. It was really just luck that no fires made it to our part of the Dão valley. Some of you might remember the MdD had fires on its ‘doorstep’ in the past.  It can happen anywhere.  Many friends and colleagues were not as lucky—they lost their livelihood, homes and the forest around them.

We have started a Fire Prevention Campaign and you can read more about it here.