Holland’s Repair Cafes Breathe New Life into Broken Objects

Got something in your home that needs fixing? Take it with you on your next trip to Holland. They have a ‘Repair Café’ there, where you can get almost anything fixed. The concept café, sponsored by the Dutch State, is the brainchild of former journalist Martine Postma. She felt that the Dutch people tend to throw away too many things, even the ones that can be easily fixed. Moreover, in modern times people have lost the ability to fix simple things, she says. So as an environmental initiative, she started the Repair Café in Amsterdam, with the intent of bringing together the people who can fix things, and those that need them fixed.

Postma basically believes that people would rather not throw away their stuff. And she sure did turn out to be right. What started off as a local initiative became an overnight success. Today, there are about 20 Repair Cafes across the Netherlands, and another 50 are being planned. A Repair Café Foundation was set up in 2010, where Postma now works full time. The foundation provides volunteers with information on how to set up their own café. The frequency of the cafes range from once a month to twice a week, and are held at a rented workspace.

There’s literally nothing you can’t get fixed at the Repair Café. Be it clothes, furniture, electronic and electrical appliances, or even toys, you will always find an expert willing to lend a helping hand. Books on various repair subjects are available. People who have nothing to be fixed can also hang out at the bar. Sounds like a neat community initiative where people help each other out based on their skills.

For a video of what exactly goes on at a Repair Cafe, check out this link (unfortunately the embed feature doesn’t seem to be working).

Photos Repair Cafe via Inhabitat


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