Harderwijk Borough


“Game, Set and Match” for young people playing in Harderwijk

The Harderwijk neighbourhood of Tinnegieter is not what you would call a true problem area, but it does face real challenges. A relatively high number of residents from all sorts of different cultures, buildings packed tightly together and, as a result, little room to play for its youngest inhabitants. The district only has one play area, and in fact no facilities at all for slightly older youths aged 10 and over. Public Space Manager Ben de Zwaan received many signals from the district team and the welfare department that something needed to be done. After a brainstorming session also involving the neighbourhood team and the housing corporation, he finally contacted the Richard Krajicek Foundation. Following a visit to the district, the former star tennis player's foundation listened to the plan and construction of the new "playground" could begin.

"The stimulation of sporting activities in a safe social situation for young people in districts where those opportunities are limited." That is the mission of Richard Krajicek's Foundation. The situation in the district of Tinnegieter fitted this description perfectly, say Mr De Zwaan. But in order to be eligible, the plan also had to fulfil a few additional criteria. "The Richard Krajicek Foundation places the emphasis on the promotion of sport for children. With the construction of a so-called playground, you create a venue where this can take place. But that is not enough. It also requires supervision, and it is one of the foundation's conditions that regular activities must be organised. These could be football matches, tennis tournaments or basket ball clinics.

Involving everyone
The Playground in Harderwijk had to be a pleasant spot for play and sport but it also needed to be durable. It was at that point that KOMPAN became involved in the project. "We went on site with representative Erik Kolleman to see FREEGAME and we knew then that was exactly what we wanted". The construction of the playground was a joint operation between KOMPAN and the company that supplied the ground base, but the neighbourhood was also involved in the process. "During the entire process, we had contact with the district managers and the residents in Tinnegieter. So everyone contributed to the creation of the Playground".  

Opening party
The FREEGAME Playground in Harderwijk was officially opened in the spring of 2008 with a party for children and their parents. "We organised all sorts of sporting events. There were clinics by the Rebound basketball association and the Strokel tennis association. Workers at the "Welzijn Op Maat" (Custom Welfare) helped with football coaching and everyone could see how councillors Rob Daamen and Henk Eijsenga, together with former district policeman Ton Hop, fared when shooting a few hoops against a selection of local basketball players". Of course there were also gifts: T-shirts from the Richard Krajicek Foundation, KOMPAN Frisbees and a water bottle for all of the children.

Lots to do
More than 100 children participated in the opening of the playground. It was a great success, which was evident right from the beginning according to Mr De Zwaan. "Welzijn Op Maat organises lots of things at the playground, and when children play there they can make use of all sorts of equipment to play tennis, football and basketball. There is a lot to do for the children, and it's also nice that the smaller children have the "old" playground all to themselves," Mr De Zwaan concludes, laughing. "It is still busy in Tinnegieter but now it's on the playing field," he says.

For further information about the Richard Krajicek Foundation go to www.krajicek.nl


Fast facts
Location: Tinnegieter, Netherlands