New Concept: A Warm Living Room for Everyone “People can escape from the cold in this way” | I feel good

Since November 1st, The Salvation Army has opened the doors to more than cozy at 1,127 venues across the Netherlands. Anyone who wants can get into the so-called community center rooms and hang out until the site is closed. There are 214 of these thermal sites in and around Amsterdam alone, but there are also “warm spots” around Arnhem and Gorinchem and in the Hoeksche Waard.

“We actually came up with this idea in the summer,” said an ASA spokesperson. When we saw energy prices go up, we already thought people might get in trouble. We have responded to this with this concept. It’s great that people can escape from the cold at home and that we help each other in this way.”

A good example leads to a good follow-up, as does practice shows. In addition to more than a thousand Salvation Army community center rooms, other venues are quickly opening up living rooms to keep warm. Ten churches of the Reformed Church in the Netherlands (PKN) opened “warm rooms” two weeks ago, and Amsterdam’s cultural stage “Tolhuistuin” also started. Everyone is welcome every weekend in the “cozy living room” for free coffee, tea, croissants and heating.

The organizers agree that the warm sites need more publicity. The spokesman said the number of people who use more than 1,000 ASA places will be inventoried next week. What is clear is that there are “people who could really use these places”.

Warm rooms will remain open until at least January. Then energy price caps would apply and, in theory, people should be able to heat their homes pretty much without any worries. “But if we see that people still need it, then of course we will respond to that.”

Tolhuistuin offers a cozy living room

Is it cold in the house because the heating is off? Tolhuistuin starts at Warme Huiskamer in Amsterdam, and is open every weekend for those who could use some warming up. It includes free coffee, tea and croissants

An inviting table filled with toys and wrapping paper is at the entrance to the IJzaal, Tolhuistuin’s most beautiful room, with a view of the IJ and Amsterdam Central Station. Evening packages may be packed here. Mandarins are also snatched up in no time, and are there gingerbread nuts, a bowl of croissants, ginger tea and coffee?

In times of high gas prices, the Tolhuistuin culture stage wanted to contribute some warmth on cold days. From this weekend, a warm living room has been set up every Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 5 pm, accessible to everyone, and free consumption.

Candles and toys

Space there, will too, and now people. The first afternoon—the mercury outside had dropped to 2 degrees—and only a few cold-savers managed to find the warm living room. It also takes some research: first, you have to go through the restaurant, which may be a threshold for those who don’t have wide range due to their high energy bill. But then there is a comfortable room with pillows, candles, toys, great jazz over the speakers, and a rack of warm clothes to take with those who want it.

Hussein, his daughter Nila (4 years old) and his girlfriend Philo (5 years old) arrived. The girls concentrated on building a marble path and eagerly threw themselves into the gingerbread bowls. “We live near here, it seemed perfect to me,” says Hussain, who moved to Amsterdam-North from Belgium a year ago. His house dates back to 1918. “Now we only turn on the stove for two hours in the evening, because you don’t warm those old houses.”

Ravel Mahmoud, a programmer at Tolhuistuin, greets everyone warmly. He hopes that more people will be able to find this place in the near future. “We thought it was important to do: If your property is still open, what can you offer.”

Fifteen shirts

In two days he collected four bags of toys from friends and acquaintances, bought mandarin oranges and is now waiting for visitors. ,, We are there for the people who would otherwise be sitting at home wearing fifteen shirts. Here it is warm and you meet others. And figuratively speaking, we can also warm each other.

Moreover, he hopes other organizations will follow suit: “If you have the space, why not share it?” Starting next week, there will also be a Repair Café, where visitors can fix broken items with citizens on hand.

Stichting de Tolhuistuin Director Mattthea de Jong can organize the living room thanks to a donation from the district. She sees the initiative as a cultural version of what churches and community centers are already doing. “In the summer you can meet in the parks, but where to go in the winter if you don’t want to sit in a cafe and spend money right away?” the library? Mahmoud: .. This is certainly also possible. But you have to be quiet there and study, here you can lie on the sofa and do what you do at home.

De Warme huiskamer, every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 pm, in December and January.

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