Founded by Ilse Pixner, Nikki Webster, Inge de Boer, Marcel Keizer and Mirjam van Lenthe, five language teachers from NHL Stenden and the Friesland College, the Language Café has established itself to a popular meeting place for locals and internationals in Leeuwarden.
By: Marisa Greiner
Supported by Café De Bak, the event takes place every first and third Wednesday of the month. To receive an insight into the idea behind the café, Your Post visited the 29thedition of the language café and talked to (picture, from left to right) Nikki Webster, Ilse Pixner and Inge de Boer.
The initial idea behind the Language Café was to connect different nationalities and to give people the chance to not only share their culture and language, but to also interact with new people. Inge de Boer explains that, “the best way to learn a language is to go to the country, but since that’s not possible for everyone, we wanted to create a place where you can practice and share a (/your) language.”
“Especially with the Leeuwarden being the cultural capital in 2018, more and more internationals come to the city and the café is a great opportunity to connect,” Ilse Pixner adds.
Since the first meeting in April 2018, the Café has been relocated to different places all over Leeuwarden, from the ‘MeM-Livingroom of Languages pavilion’ in the Prinsentuin in Leeuwarden, part of the European Cultural Capital 2018 event, Lân fan Taal (Country of Languages), where the first 21 meetings where held, to the Café De Bak at the Library at Blokhuispoort where it is now. When asked about their change of location, Nikki Webster explains:
“When the MeM pavillon got closed back in October last year, we needed a new location to host our events and we’re really thankful that the café De Bak offered us their place. They’re very kind and helpful, they’re really a huge support! And, of course, the atmosphere of the library and the history of the old prison plays an important role as well.”
The event is hosted every first and last Wednesday of the month and everyone is free to join, Inge de Boer:
“We have all different kinds of people that come here, from locals or refugees to students, people from any age participate.”
“There is no need to sign up and everyone can be involved as much as they want to. We are all volunteers and we do that because we love languages”, Nikki adds.
Overall there are more than 40 languages that are spoken during the event and the interest in the event is growing from event to event. Ilse Pixner:
“The café allows you to meet new people, to get to know each other, to have a glass of wine and to enjoy your time.”.
Although there are only three more events coming up, the Language Café already plays an important role in Leeuwarden’s culture and while the future of the Café is yet to be decided, Nikki Webster states: “The legacy will go on and everyone is invited to join.”
If you’re interested to participate as well: The Language Cafés are on the first and third Wednesday each month. The next meeting is right around the corner, make sure to join on June 19th from 19:30 to 21:30, at Café De Bak.