Halvorsbøle, Norway

The Acem International Retreat Centre at Halvorsbøle is situated one hour’s drive outside Oslo, Norway. The centre stands on a hill with a panoramic view of the Randsfjord lake and nearby hamlets. The surroundings are stunningly beautiful and epitomise the deep peace and quiet of Scandinavia.

In the past, the site served as a venue for the Norwegian government’s annual budget talks, as well as for the negotiations that led to the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO in 1993.

Halvorsbøle has access to a charming small beach. Another lake, famous for its canoeing facilities, is situated nearby. A network of narrow roads and paths in the forest makes the location ideal for walks in the summer and skiing in the winter.

Retreat participants are usually accommodated in single rooms with private bathrooms and a direct view of the lake. The Halvorsbøle cuisine is lactovegetarian, well suited for long meditations. Shared transport from Oslo Airport Gardermoen or Oslo city centre can be arranged.

You can find more images of Halvorsbøle here.

Lundsholm, Sweden

The Acem Retreat Centre at Lundsholm lies on a small peninsula by Mangen lake, 25 km from the town of Arvika, far from the hustle and bustle of modern city life.

The retreat centre is built around an old country house. A new building, in traditional style, and a number of charming cottages all have single rooms with private bathrooms, while the other buildings, including the main house dating back to 1850, have basic but convenient single rooms with shared bathroom. The new building has a beautiful hall for meetings and meditation.

Lundsholm offers plenty of opportunities for walking, bicycling, swimming and rowing, as well as skiing and sometimes skating in the winter. The area is sparsely populated, with beautiful forests and the small, red, roadside houses typical of rural Sweden. The silence is broken only by birdsong and the occasional looncall. If you are lucky, you may get a glimpse of hare, moose or deer.