Tolhuistuin offers a cozy living room for “people who might sit at home with fifteen sweaters”

The IJzaal of the Tolhuistuin transforms into a warm, cozy living room every weekend in December.Dingina Mall Statue

An attractive 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 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 am to 5 pm, accessible to everyone, and consumption is free.

Candles and games

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: you first have to go through the restaurant, which may be a threshold for those who don’t have wide range due to the 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, and it seemed perfect to me,” says Hussain, who moved to North Amsterdam 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 can’t heat 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 people who would otherwise be sitting at home with 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 gather 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.

warm living room, Every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5pm, in December and January.

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