In Amsterdam, citizens have taken matters into their own hands with the Bankjes Collectief project (Bench Collective project), whereby people install a bench outside their own home, or else “adopt” a public one.
The idea is to transform public space into a meeting place for everyone. The largest open-air café in the world consists of ‘opened’ benches on the sidewalk in front of houses, in the park or on a city square.
Approximately 1,000 benches have so far been registered in Amsterdam and numbers are growing.
As a bench host you decide your opening times and what you want to serve: a nice cup of coffee, home baked cake, a marble competition or dancing lesson. At the opened benches you’ll meet all your neighbours. From students, young families and chatty granny’s to playful kids.
Research has shown that 64 per cent of the people who meet on these benches keep in some form of contact.