Billed as the world’s largest open air café, the annual initiative invites people to “open” a bench outside their home and interact with neighbors in the community. Organizing activities is also encouraged as part of the event, with AkzoNobel employees taking the opportunity to ride by on bicycles and collect tins of leftover paint.
“Neighbours often live disconnected from each other because it’s no longer a given that people in the same neighborhood meet,” explained Jesse Jörg, co-initiator of the BenchesCollective. “We want to turn public spaces into meeting spaces and since we started in 2014, more than 1,000 benches have been opened.”
Added Raymond de la Court, who is responsible for AkzoNobel’s Decorative Paints business in the Netherlands: “This is a beautiful example of how cities can become more liveable. In the past few years, this event has continued to have a positive impact, stimulating additional neighborhood activities, such as barbecues and working together on communal outdoor spaces.
“I am proud that we are able to link our paint recycling activities to this wonderful project and contribute to a more liveable Amsterdam.”