Many Dutch high streets are struggling with vacancy. This building, once a cinema, is planned to be demolished in about a year to make room for residential space. Until then, the park is an interesting experiment. But, says co-founder René Dronkers, their aim is not to act as vacancy managers. It took them over two years to find a suitable space for their PopinnPark, and an old friend eventually let them bring their idea to life. As Dronkers acknowledges, commercial parties may be sympathetic towards an idea, but are still reluctant to lend space for experiments like these.
The PopinnPark is the first of its kind in Europe. The park’s founders, both entrepreneurs, are still figuring out how to set up a structural business plan in order to create a more permanent version and location of their park. So far, however, response has been overwhelmingly positive.
The indoor green space, complete with plants and greenery, picnick tables, swings and a playground, provides a place for people to meet, eat, relax and interact — just like a regular park does! Moreover, the PopinnPark organizes various events that introduce the public to themes such as urban nature, farming, or green entrepreneurship. Workshops, yoga, lectures: anything is possible. The motto of these events? Pay as you wish.
The experiment of PopinnPark needs to prove itself over the coming months. So, if you are a local or just visting Amsterdam and you’re looking for a unique green experience, make sure you take a walk in this park — rain or no rain!