Photo: © PitsLamp photography/ Flickr
One out of 22
You can find community centre De Markten at the Oude Graanmarkt, more precisely at number 5. The building used to be a monastery once, but today the building hosts De Markten, something it has been doing ever since the 80ies. De Markten is one of the 22 community centres the Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie (the Flemish Community Commission) has set up in the Brussels-Capital region, their goal being "enhancing the city's quality of life," as can be read on De Markten's brochure. Each one of those centres has its own specific programme, adjusted to its audience and depending on the available infrastructure.
Bringing people together
In first instance, community centre De Markten is an organisation that is always there for everyone, for anyone who wants to know more about De Markten itself or about life in Brussels in general. "At the reception, you are always welcome to ask questions like "Which school should I send my child to?" Pol Vervaeke explains. He has been working at De Markten for 15 years already. As Staff Member, his job includes organising the educational and stage activities, among many other things. With their monthly magazine De Vijfhoek ('The Pentagon'), De Markten not only wants to alert Brussels' inhabitants of what they can experience and discover in De Markten, but also what's happening in the whole 'Brussels' Pentagon'. On top of that, they open their spaces and rooms to third parties.
Next to giving information and providing services, De Markten is especially active on a cultural and educational level. And not only do they organise exhibits, dance, theatre and other performances, but they also organise all sorts of courses and sports activities, for the young as well as the old(er). Concerning the performing arts, it's usually about "little projects with non-profesionals," Vervaeke says. Meaning: amateurartists. But for Vervaeke, De Markten is above all a meeting place, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. 'Community building', bringing people together, that's exactly what De Markten aims at. And this can be achieved, for example, through the debates De Markten organises about city themes or through their Salon Dansants, at which volunteers help bring people together in a fun way (with coffee, pastries, music and dance).
A gap in the market
Through the 15 years Vervaeke has been working for De Markten, he cannot help but notice more and more people seem to find their way to the community centre. And, not unimportant, more and more people who don't speak Dutch as their mother tongue are part of that group. They come to De Markten to keep up their knowlegde of Dutch or to improve it. Adjusted programmes make sure they feel at ease, "the lanugage level is adjusted." In that area, De Markten works toghether with associations like Huis van het Nederlands (The Dutch Language House).
Photo: © Peter Forret/ Flickr
But community centres also need a holiday from time to time. During the month of July De Markten will take a little break, but after that they will be completely ready again and waiting for you in August! But don't worry, in July and August there are still some Summer sports activities as well as activities for children. For more information, visit their website.