A number of Repair Cafes are opening across The Netherlands, offering communal spaces for local people to build their skills and join together as a community. They mend each other’s appliances, electronics, clothes and furniture, rather than throwing them away.
Volunteers who are skilled craftsmen, seamstresses or enthusiasts help those who want to fix things but don’t know how, entending the life of household items and belongings and resisting the disposable consumer culture. Visitors work with skilled and crafty individuals, sometimes learning how to do the repairs themselves.
The first Repair Cafe was founded by Martine Postma in 2009,who believed it was a shame that people throw things away before their time. Community members who visit the cafes are given the satisfaction of fixing their broken items, while at the same time saving money and helping the environment.
Postma now works for the Repair Cafe Foundation, which is funded by the Dutch state and advises volunteers about how to set up their own independent Repair Cafes. There are currently 20 fully operational Repair Cafes, with 50 more in the planning stages.