Social enterprise De Middellander

Profit in a generous city

In ‘We Gaan Door!’ Mooi, Mooier, Middelland describes how self-organisation expresses itself through a new non-profit neighbourhood company. That company, De Middellander, is a hub for innovators & connectors, a nerve center for communication and an office for administration. This document describes how we are building that, with De Middellander’s charter as a basis.

The Charter of De Middellander

Social enterprise De Middellander works towards a generous city. Our enterprise is a co-creation of a broad coalition of institutions, organisations and individuals. In turn, we co-create as an organisation. The generous city makes connections between ‘what is good for flora and fauna is good for people’ and the values and standards of a ‘friendly, open society’. ‘Civilisation is maintenance’ is the motto, ‘entrepreneurship’ is the tool and social enterprise De Middellander is the platform.
Together we build a neighbourhood where health goes hand in hand with openness and sustainability. That development is broad and deep. Health, both physical and mental, is the basis. Openness, the neighbourhood as a diverse place for young and old, is both a condition for development and a result of that development. Sustainability for all ensures the resilience that the city of Rotterdam promotes as a strategy for the future. Adapting to a changing climate and the transition from fossil fuels to sustainable energy is part of this strategy.

The value of our projects lies in their contribution to the dynamic development of the neighbourhood. Middelland is always changing and developing, like the rest of Rotterdam. The composition of the neighbourhood changes, just like the needs of residents and the use of space. social enterprise De Middellander develops temporary or permanent activities with residents or groups of residents. In this process we provide space for everyone.

Besides generating sustainable development, that also generates money. That’s profit for generosity. Mooi, Mooier, Middelland provided a clear framework for the operation of social enterprise De Middellander in the Guidelines of Purchase. Money generated by projects is invested in new projects and facilities. The choices we make are no secret, nor are our accounts. Transparency is a key value and we’re always open for questions.

The term ‘generous city’ was developed by historian Jacob Voorthuis. Maartje ter Veen, researcher and maker, uses the term to narrow the distance between the individual and the city. Like in Mooi, Mooier, Middelland, this make’s the city everyone’s business.
A generous city demands the best of us. It offers room for confrontation and a place to be amazed by the behaviour of the other and ourselves. In this city we cannot avoid the discomfort of searching for new insights that these confrontations bring us.

The generous city is never finished and requires us to practice daily. In the words of Jacob Voorthuis: ‘Civilisation, the civilised world, is very thin, not because people are nasty creatures, but because the world has to be practiced by every person. That requires care. So if we want to live together in the city we have to be generous to each other and the city and we have to practice its implicit generosity, its rich world. Only then will the city become generous to us. Thus, its beauty appears to be everywhere.’

From our personal experiences we all share a key to driving this generous city. That requires practice and cooperation from people who are as consciously dynamic and diverse as the generous city itself.