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  • Meghann Ormond

Roots Guide comes to Wageningen


The Roots Guide experience came to BBLTHK, Wageningen's public library, on 3 September! More than 60 participants joined throughout the day to experience Roots Guide's 4 steps (Reflect, Connect, Explore and Share) together. They were treated to readings by 3 of our 34 guides featured in the book: Razan, Lay and Masood - a proud Wageningen local himself. This special event was organised by Roots Guide intern and sound artist Kristina Mau Hansen and volunteer Alejandra Guijo Bermejo, both of whom worked on the Roots Guide project as master's students in the MSc Tourism, Society & Environment programme. What a lovely afternoon full of new and meaningful connections between newer and more established Wageningen residents. It was a reminder of Roots Guide's power in forging and supporting community.



The final Explore activity of the day brought all audience members to consider what they would include in a welcome package for new Wageningen residents. Here are just a few of their great ideas for a warm welcome:

  • Welcome the new resident in their own language

  • Give them a bouquet of flowers

  • Gift them some local food products

  • Bake and give them a homemade apple pie

  • Invite them for a meal - lunch or dinner - at your home

  • Invite them to come by for a tea or coffee weekly so they can ask any questions they might have

  • Share with them the names of the neighbours that live near them and who they can call if they have questions

  • Offer your friendship and support to them

  • Share your car and bakfiets with them

  • Offer them a map of town

  • Give them a tour of the town

  • Introduce them to the local community, food and customs - and open your door to be part of the community

  • Help them know where to find things in town, how things work and how much things should cost

  • Bring them to the public library (BBLTHK in Wageningen) because so much information can be found there

  • Show them where Movie W, Thuis, the market square, bike shops and Emmaus are located

  • Visit the nearest neighbourhood community centre together

  • Offer them an agenda with activities in the neighbourhood to support social contact

  • Introduce them to the subsidy guide

  • Add them to the neighbourhood WhatsApp group

  • Share information about residents' associations

  • Do something together

  • Take a nice walk in the forest together

  • If they have kids, give an overview of playgrounds, schools and activities on offer

  • Acknowledge that you might not know what the new resident needs so meet with them and figure it out together


Special thanks to Kristina and Alejandra for their great work, as well as to Percy, Vesna and Rami from BBLTHK for helping make it all happen! This event was especially meaningful to me not only because I myself finally moved to Wageningen in July, but also because this event showcased so beautifully what's possible when university scholars and students work together with social entrepreneurs, artists and community members to develop something that has real societal impact. Faster alone - yes - but so much further together.


Now... Where in the Netherlands will Roots Guide go next?

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