The Hopper International

Welcome to Denderz

belgium germany denderz stem learning program

Hey there, Hopper fans! So glad you decided to check out The Hopper’s International Blog! Jared’s my name and educational reporting is my game. The Hopper team has tasked me with scoping out and sharing some of the unique and innovative forms of learning and audience engagement that Europe has to offer. So, buckle up Buttercup. First stop: the Netherlands!

The Next Level of “Family Time:” Denderz

For the sake of historical brevity, the Netherlands has seen a lot in its day. Nestled between Belgium and Germany, and across the English Channel from Great Britain, this country finds itself at the crossroads of global culture and conversation. After spending a few consecutive months living and teaching in Bremen, Germany, my need for a more relaxed and socially engaging atmosphere led me to the quaint Dutch city of Groningen. Before we continue, let’s take into consideration two pertinent facts about the Netherlands: (1) It is the most densely populated country in the European Union and (2) is home to some of the tallest people in the world (on average). With these two factoids in mind, one would hope that the Dutch have mastered the art of the multi-purpose space. It turns out they have!

Introducing, Denderz! Got energetic kids? Bring them to Denderz! It has numerous child play spaces! Fancy some gelato? Denderz has you covered! Jonesing for some espresso and a salad after walking around the city’s center? Denderz offers a full-service cafe! Are you clueless when it comes to swaddling your infant or braiding your child’s hair? Denderz holds parenting workshops for that!  Have you been meaning to become child/infant CPR certified? Take the certification at Denderz! Looking to make some new friends? Come on down to Denderz and join a conversation at one of Denderz’s weekly parent social groups! Searching for a venue to hold a family photoshoot? Book a space at Denderz!

…This place is a parent’s multi-purpose dream. Luckily, I had the opportunity to sit down with Anja de Vries, one of the staff members at Denderz. She gave me the scoop on their highly successful child-parent fusion space.

denderz family learning

Why did you decide to work for Denderz?

I worked in youth care for 10 years…with kids 8-18 years old who had problems at home. I knew Jessica (the co-owner) from when she started Denderz.  I liked the idea of…a place where kids can be kids and parents can be parents; families going on their way to have a nice day. Denderz is a great afternoon place to relax and chill. I also have two kids myself and I remember when I was in the childcare center. There wasn’t much available for me as a mother with kids. So, I contacted Jessica and Pauline and asked if they needed help. I really liked the Denderz concept so much. Having worked in youth care I could immediately relate to this place.

Who are your most frequent visitors?

Mostly we see young families with kids [between] 0-4 years old.  Lots of people come here regularly to eat. It became a second home for some. A lot of new people were very excited about the idea of Denderz when it first began. Our clients are mostly young families… even grandpas and grandmas!

How long do your customers usually stay at Denderz?

Mostly they stay for two hours or more. They also combine it with shopping.

Why does Denderz combine espresso, gelato, a playground, full-service cafe, and parenting workshops?

Because that’s what mothers and fathers need! We have got it all in one place.

children playing at denderz

What are the most popular reasons to come to Denderz?

Mostly customers come for coffee and something to eat. The kids can roam free while parents meet and talk. In the future, we will offer more and more children’s presents and child-themed gifts.

How does the Dutch government support mothers and young families?

The government helps to get every kid to attend kindergarten or childcare. Parents who can’t [afford it] get a stipend. Every kid up to 3 years old has the [option] of going to childcare…so the parents can work. It’s directly related to the amount of money that the parent(s) make every month.

(Side note: New Dutch mothers are entitled to 16 weeks paid maternity leave, which normally begins anywhere between 4-6 weeks before a mother’s due date. The Dutch term for maternity leave is “zvangerschapsverlof”.)

What has been your most effective method of advertising for Denderz?

Definitely word of mouth. It seems to be the most effective method of advertising among parents.

Could you offer some Dutch parenting advice to American parents?

Spend time on what’s most important…which is your children. Childhood is quick and it is a very precious opportunity. Be sure to show physical affection to your child. Contact is important.

You heard it here folks. Parent-child fusion spaces are here to stay. And to my fellow US Hopper fans, let’s provide more opportunities to parents to enjoy quality time with their children in creative stimulating environments. Take some advice from the bubbliest and most spatially-aware people on the planet. #Groningen #Denderz

Tot de volgende keer,

Jared

Author:

Jared Anthony

Jared Anthony

Jared is a wandering ex-pat currently exploring global trends in education and audience engagement. He works as a teacher coordinator for a private English school in Bremen, Germany.

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