Debate – Old Public Spaces

het laatste woord

The old famous churches of Amsterdam should become public spaces again like they were in the 17th century. Currently most of them are closed off for big parts of the week. Willem wrote this article together with three others in Het Parool (a Dutch newspaper with a news-focuss on Amsterdam). It stirred up some discussion, we love to debate further about it. Feel free to comment if you speak Dutch:).

BenchesCollective turns street into outdoor cafe

BankjesCollectief-1

I’m rediscovering my roots these days now I’m back in Amsterdam. One of the things I missed while living in Asia, is the European culture of eating/drinking outdoors. Naturally I was thrilled when I read this week about an amazing initiative in the city: BankjesCollectief (BenchesCollective).

The BenchesCollective takes a typical Dutch phenomenon as a starting point: the ubiquitous privately owned benches on sidewalks in front of houses. Every first Sunday of the month in spring and summer, the collective turns the streets of Amsterdam into the ‘largest’ outdoor café in the world. The owners of the benches decide what they serve and the visitors determine the value afterwards. Of course, the menu can have food and drinks, but also activities like salsa classes, knitting workshops, and (clothing) swap sessions can be spotted near benches.

“The monthly cafe stimulates new encounters. Also, it tries to encourage people to look at public space as a shared canvas that can be colored by us all”, BenchesCollective founder Jesse Jorg explains. People abroad are invited to join the collective and ‘open’ their own bench as well. On the website you can pin your location, determine your opening hours and make a brief description of the menu at your bench and you’re set to go! Cheers to old and new friends!