Currency Pilot: Makkie

Amsterdam, Holland

The Makkie is a reward scheme in the Makassarsquare neighbourhood, part of the Amsterdam East District. The purpose of De Makkie is to empower local people, to encourage them to take an active role in their community and to improve the quality of life in the area.

Although urban renewal has taken place in most parts of Amsterdam East District, the Makassarsquare neighbourhood is an example of a district that needs extra assistance to overcome high unemployment, crime, and problems related to low-income, low-education, and cultural differences. The municipality, housing corporations and local residents joined hands to improve the neighbourhood by reinvigorating the civil society.


Amsterdam East residents discuss and evaluate how the Makkie works for their community. (In Dutch)

Local residents are rewarded with Makkies when they actively contribute to their neighbourhood or when helping out their neighbours on the request of the municipality, housing corporations, welfare institutions or professional organisations. It includes for example: cleaning public space, doing the housekeeping for an elderly person, or helping  to organise a local event. Makkies can be redeemed for goods and services at local shops and organisations such as free entrance to the cinema, museum, or swimming pool, a significant rebate at local independent traders or a free subscription at the library. Participants of the scheme are encouraged to trade among themselves as well. For example, babysitting or administrative help. As a rule, one Makkie equals the value of one hour of work.

Objectives

By introducing the community currency in the Makassarpleinbuurt we want to support the MPC to reach their goals in the neighbourhood and also help them to bring together the different projects within the MPC (being the “glue”). The objectives of the MPC are:

  • A clean, green area
  • decrease social isolation
  • enhance skills and self esteem
  • offering prospects for young people
  • strengthen local entrepreneurs and the link between them and the neighbourhood

Compared to other neighbourhoods in Amsterdam, the Makassarsquare neighbourhood has many problems. There is an over-representation of social housing and many large families live in small houses. The salaries are much lower than the average in Amsterdam: 40% of all youth in this neighbourhood grows up in a household that is at the lowest level of income (Amsterdam 28%). Also the percentage of unemployed people is much higher than the average in Amsterdam.

The local government, the housing associations and other professional partners have joined to structurally improve the area. Residents also have geared up, there is a wide range of civic initiatives and, together with professionals, local residents established the Makassarplein Community (MPC).

The MPCworked together with Qoin to introduce a community currency programme in the neighbourhood.

 



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