Sharing Week is in full-swing in the Netherlands. Running until October 15th, with events throughout the country, primarily at Seats2meet coworking locations, it’s an opportunity to celebrate sharing, discuss challenges and opportunities, and envision sharing’s bright future. This is the second Sharing Week, which comes hot on the heels of the first one held in June.

Shareable connected with Marloes te Riele, one of the initiators of Sharing Week and the location manager of Seats2meet in Utrecht, about the focus for Sharing Week, the importance of including different locations and why getting regular, realistic perspectives of the current sharing landscape is vital.

Shareable: What was the inspiration for Sharing Week?

Marloes te Riele: We organized the second Sharing Week because we experienced that so much is going on in the sharing economy: people are sharing cars, food, apartments and workspaces—there is an abundance. We at Seats2meet have been sharing workspaces since 2007, and we felt the need to create a stage, so to speak, for initiatives that are active in the sharing economy, and to be part of that dialogue. Seats2meet is creating space—not only via 70 locations, but also via several online tools—for people to share their knowledge, so I guess it's only natural we got the initiative going, together with shareNL, Nils Roemen and many more ambassadors.

A stated focus of Sharing Week is to give insight into the true meaning of the sharing economy. Would you please elaborate on this?

The sharing economy is a very popular issue. With all the fuss in the media around initiatives such as Airbnb and Uber you could almost forget the actual value of the sharing economy. To show the value of the sharing economy, ambassadors organized the national Sharing Week where attention is paid to many sharing initiatives that are active in the Netherlands.

Throughout the week, there have been events at seven locations through the Netherlands. What’s the importance of scheduling it this way? How do the various locations differ?

The importance is to spread knowledge about the topic of sharing economy throughout the country. Because every city is a hub on its own, with several spokes around it, who differ in specific knowledge and expertise and who can create relevant connections in the city and around it. So this way, connections which are already there between initiatives become stronger and new ones will be made.

Many of the Sharing Week events are at Seats2meet locations. How has Seats2meet helped to grow and support the sharing economy in the Netherlands?

Since 2007 Seats2meet is all about sharing abundance and creating a stage for serendipity. Literally, through workspaces, where people can work and meet each other. Through these serendipitous opportunities, there is an emphasis on access instead of property. And this is what the sharing economy is about.

There are now 70 Seats2meet locations in the Netherlands, in different spots including libraries, Bagels and Beans and the Yoghurt barn. Seats2meet Utrecht is the flagstore, with 20 meeting spaces as well.

Sharing Week features sharing economy leaders discussing what they do and the sharing economy as a whole. What do you hope the events bring to each community?

A deeper insight into the attitude towards the sharing economy which is a necessity to keep it flowing; stronger and more connections in the communities; and new business.

In addition to the scheduled program, people are invited, during Sharing Week, to mutually share, lend, exchange, rent and give. Why is this an important aspect of the event? What do you hope to see?

A booming success! Sharing, lending, exchanging, renting and giving is important because it makes us aware of the abundance which is present and the value you can create together in a value network.

There’s a push for Sharing Week to demonstrate how much people are already sharing. How aware is the general public of the sharing economy in the Netherlands? What sharing services are the most utilized and well-known?

Well, in the Netherlands alone we have 500,000 visitors at Seats2meet, and the people coming here are as diverse as a society can be. The awareness differs. Older people, who are great connectors, connected to themselves, get it, and the younger generation as well. I can't say the general public is aware—it's much more about being active and really participating in it which create the awareness. And the people who are using the workspaces get it. But it takes time. I think the sharing services of Snappcar, Airbnb, Peerby, Thuisafgehaald and MyWheels are the most well-known.

Sharing Week features dozens of speakers talking about different aspects of the sharing economy. Who are some of the standouts? Do people plan to travel to attend all of the events and hear all of the speakers?

RuimtevolkJan Fasen on his educational system, UBUNTU, John Moravec, author of Knowmad Society, Maurice de Hond (of Steve Jobs schools), Thuisafgehaald (Shareyourmeal) founder Marieke Hart, Justien Marseille, futurist. Yes, people travel, but a lot will be recorded and live streamed.

Sharing Week coincides with Shareable’s 2nd annual MapJam. Will there be any MapJams at the events to map local sharing initiatives?

Yes! On Wednesday there will be a MapJam at Seats2meet Utrecht CS.

What’s the big picture vision for Sharing Week?

To get a realistic perspective on the sharing economy, and provide inspiration for everyone about how to operate in this industry.

Anything you’d like to add?

Creating such a Sharing Week was just the second initiative and therefore the prelude to international activities on a regular basis to get the dialogue going and share knowledge about the sharing economy.


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Cat Johnson


Cat Johnson | |

Cat Johnson is a writer and content strategist focused on coworking, collaboration and community. She's the author of Coworking Out Loud, a guide to content marketing for coworking space operators. Publications include Yes!