The Makkie is a timebanking currency combined with a loyalty scheme, run in the Makassarsquare neighbourhood in Amsterdam East, the Netherlands. One makkie equals one hour of mutual service or community work. Makkies may also be redeemed for products, services or discounts at a number of local venues.
The purpose of the Makkie is to empower local people, to encourage them to take an active role in their community and to improve local livelihoods. Local residents can be rewarded with Makkies for helping out their neighbours or when they actively contribute to the improvement of their neighbourhood. The latter is carried out under the supervision of the municipality, housing corporations, welfare institutions or professional organisations.
A few thousand people inhabit the Makassarsquare neighbourhood in Amsterdam. The program has been extended to include the whole of the Indische Buurt, with about 24,000 inhabitants.
The founding partners are
- Makassarplein Community: an informal citizen’s initiative and resident’s committee that aims for better liveability in the neighbourhood. Important intermediary for municipality and residents.
- Amsterdam East City Council: Amsterdam East District is one of the 7 Districts in Amsterdam having 115.000 inhabitants. The ‘indische buurt’ is one of the 31 boroughs of Amsterdam East District. The departments ‘health care’ and ‘resident participation’ are involved in the project.
- Eigen Haard: One of the largest Housing Corporations in Amsterdam with a total of 475 employees and 48.000 residences all over the city. The ‘residence service’ is involved in urban renewal and citizen’s participation.
- Civic Zeeburg: the core business of Civic Zeeburg is to encourage active citizenship and entrepreneurship by facilitating citizen’s initiatives.
- Qoin: the foundation for community currencies.
Every partner has a representative in the steering group and the project team.
Organisation and History
The Makkie originated as a 2011 cooperation of different parties, among which the city borough Amsterdam Oost (East), to tackle problems in the Makkassarplein area related to poverty and insecurity. The Makkie aims to increase or improve participation of residents, social cohesion, livelihoods, and tries to alleviate poverty.
The Makkie a timebanking system with additional features inspired by the Spice Time Credits schemes for community service.
The currency took off on February 14, 2012, on pilot scale. In autumn of that year, the currency was extended to cover the whole Indische Buurt (‘Indonesian Neighbourhood’) in Amsterdam Oost. At this time, the project counted 23 issuing partners and 16 accepting partners.
About 300 users were participating in Makkie in March 2013 1. In one year, 2040 Makkies are earned, 288 Makkies are redeemed (15% redemption rate). Popular redemption partners are the swimming pool, ice cream at a local event and discount at the grocery store. Cultural redemption partners are less popular.
Most Makkies are earned through activities that already existed and were formerly carried out voluntarily. Many volunteers indicated that they did not require makkies for their contributions, but do appreciate the bonus, after being told they can be redeemed at the swimming pool, cinema or for discount at the supermarket.
Makkie is barely used in their function of time credits, the intended means of exchange among inhabitants of the Indische Buurt.
In short, adoption by the residents remains a problem. Many don’t know about Makkie, and those who do, don’t feel its ‘theirs’, but rather imposed by a number of agencies. Makkie has indeed received great support by the city borough, but few inhabitants are convinced of its value (Ibidiem).
Makkies are a medium of exchange measured in units of time (hours). Makkies are physical notes and come in denominations of ½ and 1 hour. The hourly unit of measurement is used when makkies are issued: residents perform community service, and get rewarded for the time that they volunteered.
Residents are encouraged to use makkies as a medium of exchange for service that they can perform among each other, also measured in hours. The website runs a marketplace for supply and demand of services. Between 100-200 requests and offers are listed at any time.
The Makkie system is run on Cyclos software.
- Klamer and Boonstra, 2013, “De Makkie in de leefwereld” (in Dutch), http://klamer.nl/images/pdf/De%20Makkie%20in%20de%20leefwereld.pdf ↩