Guest blog by I'M BINCK Festival:“It all happened in a Binckhorst way: quirky, rough, and surprising”

Community Maker community Placemaking

The fifth edition of the eccentric I’M BINCK Festival attracted many visitors to the Binckhaven area on 6 October. A twenty-four-hour program invited visitors to discover the Binckhaven as experimental testbed of the future and to meet the pioneering startups and scale-ups that have settled in the area. In this guest contribution, the festival organizers talk about this year’s festival and reflect on its overall value for the City of The Hague.

The Binckhaven area is changing at a rapid pace. Starting in 2018, residents and startups will start settling into a number of previously vacant KNP office buildings. In this way, this part of the The Hague Binckhorst area will literally transform into a test site of the future. Living and working will be fused together here in altogether new and creative ways.

It is in this “living lab”, that I’M BINCK – the Binckhorst platform that unites all local stakeholders – organized the fifth edition of the I’M BINCK Festival. During the festival, residents of the surrounding neighborhoods and nearby cities, students from the The Hague University of Applied Sciences, startups, and of course the local Binckhaven entrepreneurs immersed themselves in the dynamic area for twenty-four hours.

Richness

The central objectives of the festival are to bring people together, to exchange knowledge and ideas, to connect and start a dialogue, and to inspire each other in order to scale up and do better business. “With the I’M BINCK Festival, we celebrate the richness of the area with its local entrepreneurs and the public at large. There is so much knowledge here about old and new crafts, entrepreneurship, innovations and, for example, about growing your business,” Sabrina Lindeman, co-initiator of the festival and founder of the I’M BINCK platform shares. “This wealth is of great value to The Hague and the whole region. We aim to make this value visible.”

The kick-off of the twenty-four-hour festival was an early breakfast for entrepreneurs at Avicenna Coffee Corner, a new business in the Binckhaven area. The cafe has nestled in a unique place: the lobby of a previously dull office building, which in recent years has transformed into a thriving business complex. “Since the opening of Avicenna, the entrepreneurs who work here are welcomed by the delicious smell of fresh coffee,” said Sahar Abshari, co-owner of the Coffee Corner.

During the breakfast at Avicenna, a total of eighty entrepreneurs from the greater The Hague region shared inspiration. There were pitches by other companies based in the area, such as Afval Loont and Secrid. They reflected on the new economy and the place of social entrepreneurship in it. Also, Mark Mosmans talked about his unique approach to the modular tiny house that he has incorporated into his company, Hugahome. “We need to organize these kinds of meetings more often, so that entrepreneurs from Binckhaven and the region can get to know each other and collaborate,” one of the guests at the entrepreneurial breakfast said.

I’M BINCK: Authentic, circular, inclusive

At the Binckhorst Top 2017, politicians, residents, entrepreneurs, investors and overall interested parties reviewed the future of the Binckhorst and Binckhaven areas. How to develop this district together with all stakeholders and turn it into the most authentic, circular, and inclusive area in The Hague and the region? Topics such as cross-pollination of old and new entrepreneurs, innovations, impulses to the impact economy in the area, and more visibility for the existing startup culture were discussed.

“Young, innovative entrepreneurs and major initiatives must be able to get a chance and a place in the Binckhaven,” said Sietske Knüppe and Roy Gosenshuis of Triodos Bank who were part of the panel discussion at the Binckhorst Top 2017. “The role that Triodos Bank can play as an investor goes beyond money. Money puts things into motion, but bringing together knowledge and expertise is just as important. Triodos Bank explicitly wants to support initiatives that have an impact,” they added.

A big bang

During Grensverleggers, the innovation and food market in studio complex De Besturing, creative entrepreneurs presented their unique products and inventions to the audience. In the evening, dance, good food and music filled the Binckhaven area. For the true adventurers, there was the Bick Bang night expedition: a boat trip in the industrial harbor in an old red-and-orange rescue capsule organized by REFUNC. And those who still did not have enough were invited to come spend the night at the Bivak urban campsite. They could sit at the campfire with a Binckse Belofte, Binckhorst’s local beer, and dream about the future. After a cold night, the I’M BINCK Festival 2017 ended twenty-four hours later, at eight o’clock in the morning, with another delicious breakfast.

Sabrina Lindemann: “The I’M BINCK Festival 2017 sported a fantastic, ambitious, inspirational, and rich program. And it all happened in a Binckhorst way: quirky, rough, and surprising. We are looking forward to next year. Many new developments will be taking place in the Binckhaven area in the upcoming year. In the old KPN buildings, not only new residents will find a new home, but also new businesses and startups. We will involve all of them in next year’s edition of the I’M BINCK Festival.”

Interested to stay up-to-date on next year’s I’M BINCK Festival and the overall developments in the area? Keep an eye on I’M BINCK’s website, the I’M BINCK Festival’s website, and follow them on Facebook.