Going Dutch at the Hungry Mind

16th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Introducing a new community and activities centre for both local and international residents in The Hague.

It may have an English name, but The Hungry Mind Centre is a community and activities centre for both local and international residents in The Hague. In fact, it’s this mix of Dutch and other nationalities that gives it a vibrant international flavour which, at the same time, has its roots planted firmly in Dutch soil.

Anyone walking into the clubhouse, tucked behind the International School of The Hague, will hear guests speaking in an array of languages, of which Dutch is also one. There are many groups and societies in The Hague that cater exclusively for one nationality or language group, but this is exactly what The Hungry Mind Centre’s initiator, Petra Brekelmans, wants to steer away from.

 “We want to give people in this international community the opportunity and a venue to meet and mix socially. My own experience as an expat has taught me that we have so much to learn from each other.” In her view, meeting locals in this manner accelerates the pace at which other nationalities resident in The Hague feel at home in this city. The Dutch and English conversation classes held here also pave the way for a better understanding between the various sectors of this community.

The Hungry Mind Centre is now six months old and still growing rapidly. The club house is filled with cosy clusters of chairs and tables; there is a play corner where toddlers can amuse themselves while mothers meet up with friends to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and a bite to eat. The volunteers who man the kitchen regularly produce tasty treats. Recent events included the launch of the NL Doet national volunteers’ Day, a Dinner & Jazz Evening and a performance of  ‘Suitcases & Sacrifices’, by a local theatre group, Plankgas, in English.

The Centre, which is open daily from 08:30-16:30, recently added a number of activities to its weekly list. Up to now, most of the programme has been devoted to children’s activities and includes private tuition (languages, maths and science), kids’ cooking and baking, intuitive painting, handicrafts, toddler play groups and various sports. As of March, there will be digital photography lessons on a regular basis; a beadwork class and a selection of exercise classes (yoga, Nordic walking, jogging & stretching and pilates) to keep you in shape and good health. See www.thehungrymind.nl for the weekly programme of activities at the centre and for contact details.

The Hungry Mind Centre is a non-profit foundation and is run by volunteers. It is funded by sponsors and through funds raised by the activities and events it organises on a regular basis. The venue, which can cater for groups of up to 75 people, can be booked for birthday and other celebratory parties, theatre performances and other events.


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