beer-for-work projects in Amsterdam

blaka watra veegploegThey clean parks, streets and playgrounds and get paid in beer. Not only beer, they get some money and a hot meal too, but the beer is what makes them tick (and come to work).

We’re talking about a group of hard core alcoholics that’s living in the streets of Amsterdam. They used to cause nuisance, trouble and petty crimes in the neighbourhood. Now they’re cleaning up the parks, streets and playgrounds three times a week as part of a project named De Regenboog (The Rainbow).

It’s a win-win situation. The project participants have a job, get paid, get more structure in their lives and as a result of that they sometimes even drink less and feel better. The residents have less problems with nuisance and their neighbourhood is cleaner and feels safer. They appreciate the work of the participants and thank them for it, which has of course a positive effect on the self esteem of the participants.

Giving beer to alcoholics – it sounds wrong, but this way it does work out well.
It’s the Amsterdam way.

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