New neighbours in Spark Village

At the end of this year Amsterdam Science Park welcomes 240 new residents in the age of 18-27 years old. Half of the new residents are status holders; the other half students and other young people. Housing association Rochdale is responsible for the project.

Impression of Spark Village

The production of the houses is in full swing. In September the houses are placed at Amsterdam Science Park. Rochdale does the last parts of the building process on location. The first residents come in the second half of October. The last houses are inhabited by the end of November.

With more than 20 nationalities, the facilities in and around Science Park and the direct neighbours of the Startup Village, Spark Village has the possibility to be a place where the new residents can start building their lives in an environment with many opportunities for self-development. Three students came up with the name Spark Village. The spark arises from the energy that is created by combining different people, ambitions and knowledge.

This idea will be reinforced by the plan to build a community at Spark Village. When people apply for a place in the project, they must attend an information night where they can ask questions and get an impression of the project. After that, they will be asked to write a motivation. Rochdale wants to make sure every resident is willing to add something to the community and informed about living in a project with people that just started to build om their lives in the Netherlands. Seven residents will be appointed as so called 'community builders'. It is their job to activate people to organize activities together and to help people whenever that's possible. The coordination of the community builders is done by Academie van de Stad.

Besides the direct contact between neighbours, there is a network of organizations and institutions that help the status holders with participation and integration in Dutch society. The organisation Dynamo is responsible for the social network for the new residents and the link with the neighbourhood.

Joint activities

The City of Amsterdam, Rochdale housing association and the Dynamo foundation have organised activities to involve the young residence permit holders in the community and to get them accustomed to their new living environment. A variety of initiatives have also been launched by organisations in the city and at Amsterdam Science Park:

  • Startup Village is running a pilot in which residence permit holders can set up their own business, which may well present some opportunities for the new residents too.
  • Students from Amsterdam University College (AUC) have set up the Right2Education foundation and are offering the residence permit holders language lessons.
  • Academie van de Stad ('The City Academy') is an organisation that is deploying students from research universities and universities of applied sciences to work on social issues. In SPARK Village, they are doing so by means of Community Builders. These Community Builders are paid residents who foster reciprocal interaction and support for other residents, community formation and connection with the surrounding area.
  • The 'Sport Verbindt' (Sport Connects) project run by the City of Amsterdam is geared towards making sports clubs more accessible to residence permit holders, so that they can not only take part in sports, but can also build a network as fully fledged members, practise speaking the language and contribute meaningfully to the club.

Contact and information

If you have any questions, please contact the people below or read information at www.sparkvillage.nl (in Dutch).

Dynamo: Mariska van der Linden, MLinden@remove-this.dynamo-amsterdam.nl
Rochdale: Pieter de Roest, pderoest@remove-this.rochdale.nl

Know anyone that's interested in living at Spark Village? Non-students have already been selected. The houses for fulltime students will be advertised on ROOM.nl at the end of August by DUWO, partner of Rochdale at Spark Village for the housing of students.

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