What you can do
You can mean something to refugees in many ways. You, your family, your organization or your company. By participating in an activity, organizing something yourself or facilitating something. This is not only enriching for the newcomers, but also for yourself. Look below for options. New ideas are of course also welcome!
Welkom in Utrecht connects refugees with Dutch citizens to practise the Dutch language. If you are able to speak Dutch, please take a look at the site in Dutch to get more information about Dutch language buddyprojects.
Sometimes refugees ask for a native English speaker to help them prepare their exams Cambridge English. Are you a (near) native English speaker and willing to help as a buddy? If so send an email to Hellen@welkominutrecht.nu
As a company you can mean a lot for refugees. You could offer an event such as a sports activity, a city tour or a cookery workshop. This can be a company outing and / or volunteer work for your own employees at the same time, because the latter participate in the activity. It provides educational and valuable experiences for both refugees and employees. A company can also facilitate excursions.
It is also possible to make a donation. This enables us to offer activities for which there is normally no budget.
Mail to email@example.com for more information or for an appointment to discuss the various options.
Welkom in Utrecht facilitates and organizes various (cultural) outings where volunteers from Utrecht city regularly act as a guide to refugees. The nice thing is that this has resulted in various friendships or other lasting connections. Recurring outings are:
- Central Museum Utrecht. Every first Thursday evening of the month, from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM, a group of AZC residents is invited by the Centraal Museum for a tour. This tour differs each time. Utrecht residents are invited to join. In addition, people are always needed to pick up the AZC residents at the AZC at 6:00 PM to go to the museum by bus (public transport).
- Museum Catharijneconvent. The Museum Catharijneconvent regularly receives AZC residents and other refugee groups. Every tour and every visit is different and tailored to the target group. For example, families go to the party department. It is a great way to meet with Utrecht residents.
- Stadsschouwburg Utrecht. Once a month, a few AZC residents can attend a performance in the Stadsschouwburg (City Theater Utrecht). To give people who do not yet know their way around Utrecht very well the opportunity to see a performance, a 'supervisor' from Welkom in Utrecht usually goes with them to the theatre. Transport is almost always by bus (public transport).
Would you like to join an activity (as a supervisor)? Or do you, as a cultural institution, want to offer or organize outings, just like the above mentioned organizations? Send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Helping to move out
Refugees with a residence permit in the AZC will be given a home at some point. Sometimes help is needed with moving out. That is why Welkom in Utrecht has set up a "moving pool". This pool consists of a group of people who help refugees to transport things and people.
Do you want to be part of this group? Mail to Eline@welkominutrecht.nu
Volunteering at ongoing activities
You are very welcome to participate in activities in which refugees also participate. Nice to meet new people and get to know each other's culture.
- Cooking with women. Women from the neighborhoods of Oog in Al and Lombok cook once a month, together with women from the AZC in Het Wilde Westen.
- Cooking with young men. Once every two months, young Dutch men cook and eat together with a group of male AZC residents in Het Wilde Westen.
- Blenderdance: Dance to meet and meet to dance. Every month Mirte, Lisa and Leonie organize various dance workshops. From the Afghan attan to salsa and lindy hop. AZC residents are therefore invited. You can participate as a participant or give a workshop yourself. Blenderdance also takes place in Het Wilde Westen.
- Yallah Sabaya. Several times a year, Welkom in Utrecht organizes, together with De Voorkamer, BAK basis voor actuele kunst and YallahYallah, a dance evening for women: Yallah Sabaya (which in Arabic means something like "Come on ladies, let's have fun together!"). Dance along and meet Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, Yemeni, Turkish, Moroccan and Dutch women.
- Working together in the vegetable garden. People with a refugee background (from the AZC and status holders living independently) regularly work together with other Utrecht residents in various vegetable gardens. You are very welcome to participate. In addition to gardening, there are also other activities associated with it.
- Children activities. Our volunteer Atieh Mousavi and a group of volunteers from different countries organizes activities for children in the AZC on Saturday mornings two weekly. They usually need additional volunteers to help with the games and crafts.
- Ladies Night. Under the wings of Welkom in Utrecht, a number of female volunteers organize a women's evening in the AZC every Wednesday evening. Sometimes women from Utrecht city provide workshops on a voluntary base. Would you like to offer something (on a voluntary basis) or just help? Let us know.
For more information, send an email to email@example.com or contact (if possible) the organizers directly via the links above.
Your own initiative?
Do you have an activity you want to invite refugees to? Welkom in Utrecht can help make the activity known to the AZC residents and other refugees.
Or do you have an idea, but still have questions about the implementation of it? We can help with that too. You can register a detailed plan here. Do you want more information first? Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below we give you some ideas. For inspiration, you can also look at what others have already done on the Experiences page.
- Games. Are you organizing a game afternoon as a neighborhood, with your student club or as a company? Or are you organizing an activity where you can easily invite people you don't know yet? Then consider to invite residents of the AZC.
- Sports. Many refugees would like to exercise sports; men, women, but also young people. You can invite them to join your own (informal) club! So do you run with friends? Maybe you can invite AZC residents to join. Or do you provide training and do you (also) want to offer it to refugees? Or do you like to organize a tournament, then also consider refugees.
- Cooking. Cooking and eating connects new people, it is a relaxed way to get together. There were already a lot of (friends) clubs that organized cooking events, organizations, companies and institutions. Organize you yourself a cooking and dinner evening together with refugees.
- Creativity. Being busy, creating something beautiful, expressing yourself through art. That benefits many people. Do you want to pass on your skills in this area to others? Think, for example, of knitting, making jewelry, painting and photography. In a group or on a very small scale. Let us know!
About reception and procedure
Refugee or asylum seeker?
There is often confusion about concepts such as asylum seeker, refugee and status holder. On this site of the UNCHR you can find information about the various legal definitions that are used. In daily life these are often used interchangeably.
Welkom in Utrecht almost always uses the term refugee, even when talking about asylum seekers.
When refugees receive a residence permit, they are also referred to as status holders. A refugee with a 'status' is entitled to his or her own home. Until then, most refugees stay in an asylum seekers' center. For more information, see this site of the national government about - amongst other topics - the housing of refugees with a residence permit.
Would you like to know more about the rights and obligations of asylum seekers and status holders? Then you can go here. This is a document - in Dutch - of the Knowledge Platform Integration & Society (KIS).
Reception locations for refugees
There is currently one asylum seekers' center in Utrecht. It is located at Joseph Haydnlaan 2. It has been there for over twenty years and is located in the old military hospital. More than 450 residents can live here; men, women and children. The inhabitants of the center are people with and without a residence permit.
In addition, 40 underage youths, the so-called unaccompanied minors (amv-ers in Dutch), are also received in separate units. These teens are here without their parents or other adult caregivers.
The composition of azc residents changes regularly due to new influx and outflow. Information about where people come from and reasons to flee can be found here.
More information about the reception of asylum seekers in Utrecht can be found - in Dutch - on the website of the municipality of Utrecht.
General information about the asylum procedure can be found on the websites of the national government and on the website of the Dutch Council for Refugees. The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) also provides information about the asylum reception and procedure.
Housing and integration
Every city and municipality has a "task" to accommodate a certain number of refugees with a residence permit. General information about the housing procedure can be found on the website of the coa and the national government. You can read here about the specific approach of the municipality of Utrecht with regard to the reception and housing of asylum seekers and status holders.