All working together to welcome asylum seekers

Cor, normally employed at ASML, sees the humor in it: "Putting together stuff from IKEA, among others. Terrible, I used to hate this! You always end up with screws left over. But today I'm doing just fine and it's also for a good cause. We have already assembled quite a few benches. Nice that we can all get this done together."

Together with his colleague Corné, he was asked by his employer if they wanted to contribute to this project of "Brainport for Each Other. "We are allowed a certain number of hours per year to volunteer and then we are approached left and right to lend a hand. And the boss pays! Haha!"


Corné can attest to a few things. "Cor said, 'Are you going to screw together some benches with me?' Now I'm not afraid to roll up my sleeves, so I told him to sign us up. You know, we have it really good here in Holland and you can hardly imagine then what it's like to have to live as a refugee."

The roughly two hundred people - from Ter Apel, among other places - who will come to Eindhoven from February 19 will be happy just to have a roof over their heads and a warm place to sleep. Corné and Cor are well aware of this: "It is distressing to see the state of these people. Displaced from their homes. It is of course very nice that Eindhoven is doing this, but also the conditions here are minimal."

Help Request

Of course, anything is better than having to lie in a tent in the open air, Charlotte Raap also realizes. She coordinates all matters in the crisis emergency shelter on behalf of 'Together for Eindhoven'. "We are the social branch within 'Brainport for Each Other,' an initiative of Eindhoven Mayor Jeroen Dijsselbloem, which brings together companies from the region.

Charlotte's job is to connect with all kinds of community organizations, who have a need for help, and the corporate volunteers. So we have people walking around here who work at ASML, CSU, NXP, Philips, DELA, Markteffect. In addition, we made a very nice connection, because a number of residents from COA in the city also came to help."

Charlotte emphasizes that Eindhoven had been preparing to accommodate additional refugees for about two months. Well before it became a legal obligation for municipalities to accommodate x number of people via the Spreidingswet (Spreading Act). "Now we can really give something back and are - somewhat less - powerless on the sidelines."


Housing refugees is one thing, but also giving them a meaningful use of their day is two. This is the task of Raccoon & Peacock, an organization the works with groups of people, in the broadest sense of the word. Project leader Noémie Raaijmakers: "We are responsible for programming the daytime activities for asylum seekers."

Those who think of "activities" only as crafts and sports are wrong. "It always has a link to participating in society," says Noémie. "We look - in cooperation with Springplank and on behalf of the municipality of Eindhoven - at everyone's talents and what they can do for the city within this location, but also beyond."