The project has increased now to include two accommodation buildings and extended recently into the “living room” of the residence, opening the doors to newcomers to access a range of educational and social opportunities in the heart of the community. For us, this was the exact place we hoped to visit with The Welcome Tent, people thinking creatively about our existing resources and pushing at the boundaries of what is possible.
A warm welcome takes absolute priority by the staff, residents and volunteers managing the space, although on paper many people accessing the building do not yet have a legally recognized future in the Netherlands. However, as Dawit reminded us the words of Elie Weisel: “no human being is illegal”.
The Vreemland Exhibition was a collaborative cultural programme between the community at Jongerenhuis and connected projects Refu-Bikes and Buurtfabrik and wider partners - De Voorkamer, Hans Sauer Stiftung and The Welcome Tent. We were very glad to be part of this international community at Dutch Design Week, learning together and from each other during a serious of labs and cultural events.
With a little head-scratching and a lot of help from Netherlands, Ethiopia and Angola, The Welcome Tent was put up inside for the first time, taking over the room usually reserved for Dutch lessons. As De Huiskamer was transformed into an Exhibition space, The Welcome Tent became an informal social and learning space, housing the piano and much of the comfy furniture from the rest of the building, a place for us to get to know each other and build new friendships.