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According to a well known Dutch proverb, it’s ‘better a good neighbour than a distant friend’. So, isn’t it about time that you introduced yourself to the neighbours or made an effort to get to know them better? The Oranjefonds, in collaboration with famous Dutch coffee makers Douwe Egberts, can help make that first step just that little bit easier, with Burendag (Neighbours’ Day)!
Burendag was first organised by Douwe Egberts in 2006, with the specific intention of helping forge or reinforce contact between neighbours, over the pretext of a delicious cup of fresh coffee. Douwe Egberts were joined by the Oranjefonds in 2008, who now provide small grants to fund neighbourhood parties and other fun initiatives, such as neighbourhood breakfasts, games and clean-ups of the local area. And this year alone, more than 2,000 districts took advantage of the scheme, by submitting a request for funds.
Burendag gives neighbours the opportunity to get to know each other and to join forces to tackle local issues, which ultimately results in a safer, more friendly neighbourhood. Research conducted in 2006 revealed that an overwhelming majority of Dutch people actually wanted to have better contact with their neighbours. And it became apparent just how successful Burendag was, when in 2008 Princess Máxima rolled up her sleeves on a neighbourhood initiative in Deventer. The ever popular princess helped locals plant new flowers and shrubs in the town square, launched a relay race for the neighbourhood children and visited an educational centre where she helped prepare a traditional Ramadan meal.
This year’s Burendag is being held on Saturday 22nd September – whilst it’s already too late to submit your request for a grant, the good news is that you can still log onto the Burendag website to receive your free Burendag party package from the Oranje Fonds and Douwe Egberts. You can also download a free ‘Burendag’ toolkit, to help you plan your day. Alternatively you could simply invite your neighbours for a traditional Dutch cup of coffee or a typical Dutch meal – always the perfect recipe for success!