BenchesCollective turns the streets into the largest outdoor café in the world. The organisation invites you to ‘open’ a bench in front of your house, in the street or in a park. you can also visit other benches in the neighbourhood. The owners of the (adopted) benches choose what time they open and what they want to share/serve: from a cup of coffee to a beautiful story for kids to a salsa lesson. Afterwards, the café guests decide the price. Benches Collective provides a relaxed and fun way to meet your neighbours.
Benches Collective points out that there is a growing gap in recent years between the rich and poor, like those between high and low-skilled workers and between immigrant and native residents. Meeting people from a different environment is becoming more and more difficult. They highlight how important interactions are in this new frame of recent attacks in Europe and the tense atmosphere surrounding the refugee’s situation. The promotion of mutual understanding is one of the most urgent challenges of our time.
The Dutch housing market, in major cities, is encouraging more diverse neighborhoods. However, a connection between these different residents is not yet obvious. They do not really know each other.
They added that the sidewalk is the perfect meeting place. On the pavement you can come across anyone sharing different stories: from youngsters to refugees to cozy grandmothers. In this time it is no longer clear that you know your neighbors, and research shows that front benches on the sidewalk have a very high value. If you open up your bench you can welcome everybody. They offer a means of creating new encounters between neighbors.
On the Bench Collective website you can find all benches near you, locations, opening hours and what is being served from the bench. In this way you can already learn about the neighborhood and the people before visiting the benches.
A new Benchseason will start on Sunday June the 5th! During this event Benches Collective encourages everyone to jump into the streets as a shared living room. This creates a city, town or neighborhood with a diverse, welcoming and authentic character, that meets the needs of its residents!