Ilvy Njiokiktjien for The New York Times
Gathered around tables in what appeared to be delicate operations, participants tried to fix items that had been set for the trash.
AMSTERDAM — An unemployed man, a retired pharmacist and an upholsterer took their stations, behind tables covered in red gingham.Screwdrivers and sewing machines stood at the ready. Coffee, tea and cookies circulated. Hilij Held, a neighbor, wheeled in a zebra-striped suitcase and extracted a well-used iron. “It doesn’t work anymore,” she said. “No steam.”
Ms. Held had come to the right place.At Amsterdam’s first Repair Cafe, an event originally held in a theater’s foyer, then in a rented room in a former hotel and now in a community center a couple of times a month, people can bring in whatever they want to have repaired, at no cost, by volunteers who just like to fix things.
Conceived of as a way to help people reduce waste, the Repair Cafe concept has taken off since its debut two and a half years ago.