Dorpsfeest - Village Party
A village party, referred to as a Dorpsfeest in Dutch, is an annual day that consists of community building. It is basically a day, or a few days, once a year where the whole community is invited (nothing is mandatory) to come and enjoy themselves with the various activities which they can participate in.
With the example of Driehuis, a small village located in Noord-Holland, the Dorpsfeest brings together the residents of the village to celebrate yet another year living together. Every year the event is successful with inhabitants coming and leaving with positive experiences and energies. Each year the village organizes an active day with various activities taking place for inhabitants to interact and strengthen their bonds with one another, demonstrating how a strong community is has a beneficial effect on a village. In Driehuis this summer the day consisted of a 'beach' volleyball tournament, bands and musicians performing, a community dinner and many more activities around these initiatives. This annual event always takes place on the main/ most popular road in the village, showing the community the effects that different uses and interventions on a street can have for a village.
A strong community on any living scale can be seen as a very important step towards having a strong quality of life. People in general will want to feel as though they belong to a space by being part of the community. This feeling is one which can be quickly dismissed when no such situation is present and therefore will quite likely have a negative effect on the quality of life in the area.
Community activity can therefore be great initiatives to having a happy and more interactive neighbourhoods. Having a designated day, or a few days where this communal activity takes place, can play a great role in starting up or continuing the community feeling. It is likely that such an event highlights or reminds the participants about the importance and gratefulness of a community, resulting in more communal activity to follow.
Transformational Measures and Activities
Events like this are great ways to mix up the dynamics. All of a sudden a community has the opportunity of participating in a communal event. Revolving their day around the community with the people in it and nothing else. Focusing on strengthening the community atmosphere which the area has.
Activities which take place can vary. With the example of Driehuis, last year one of the activities was that they filled a street with 80m3 of sand and played a beach volleyball tournament. Another initiative was that they organized a heap load of pick-nick tables so that the neighbourhood could have a communal dinner together. These are just a few examples of activities or measures which can be taken with a community day.
A direct result of an event like this is that there is a different to normal and fun day (amount of days). Sometimes giving the opportunity for people to try new activities and meet new people.
Another result of such an event is that the community is strengthened. Which will in effect result in a better quality of life. Providing a strengthened community may result in more communal activity and further development of the community.
Challenges, Opportunities and Transferability
Transferring ideas and events like this should be done. It can be beneficial for any kind of city anywhere. But considering the transferability, a correct approach must be taken in order for the event to be relatable to the situation. To clarify, this approach to the event in Driehuis worked as the village only has an inhabitant count of around 3,000 - 4,000, when considering such an event in Munich for example, a different approach will be necessary in order for it to accommodate the large population and be successful. This can therefore also be seen as a challenge, implementing the correct approach due to population size.
Opportunities however are great, as strengthening the community can have a chain reaction effect in many beneficial ways towards other aspects of these designated areas.