What is the “tegelwippen” competition organized in the Netherlands until the end of October ?

What is the "tegelwippen" competition organized in the Netherlands until the end of October ?

Depuis le 21 mars et jusqu'à la fin du mois d'octobre, les municipalités néerlandaises sont invitées, avec l'aide de leurs habitants, à faire la chasse aux tuiles et aux pavés dans leurs jardins. vitranc/Getty Images

Until the end of October, Dutch municipalities are invited, with the help of their residents, to hunt for tiles and paving stones in their gardens. A national competition organized for several years to raise awareness of the importance of creating islands of coolness in cities in order to combat heat waves and heatwaves.

As many tiles as possible must disappear! This is the principle of the national competition 'tegelwippen', organized from March 21 to October 31 throughout the Netherlands. The goal: to replace paving stones and flagstones in private gardens with grass, flower beds, trees and front gardens, so that the Netherlands becomes "more climate-resistant, nicer for insects and animals, cooler on hot days and much more beautiful!", we can read on the website competition official.

Raising awareness about greening cities

The first edition of this competition, created to encourage individuals to free their gardens and private green spaces from "hard' (tiles, slabs, paving stones, etc.) takes place in 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. While all sports competitions are at a standstill, Remco Moen Marcar, designer for the creative concept agency Frank Lee, has the original idea of ​​creating a competition between individuals from two of the largest cities in the Netherlands: Amsterdam versus Rotterdam. A nod to the clashes of two emblematic football teams of the country. The goal is to make "the city more beautiful, greener and more rainproof".

Race results: after four months, 94,426 tiles have been removed from the two cities! Since then, the competition has been repeated every year throughout the country. "Every paving stone that disappears is a victory for the soil and for biodiversity", says Roel van Dijk, director of The Steenbreek foundation, in a interview with the Guardian. Some municipalities which participate reuse the tiles torn out: this is notably the case of Amersfoort, a municipality located to the south-east of Amsterdam, which uses tiles recovered from gardens to reinforce the foundations houses that threaten to collapse.

The Dutch are not the only ones to use the appeal of games and challenges to raise awareness of the greening of cities. In 2023, their Belgian neighbors in the Flemish region have also taken up the teggelwippen: several municipalities have taken part in the challenge like those of Bruges, Antwerp, Ghent and Leuven. The competition is launched again this year: some cities even go so far as to elect their "pavement breaker of the month"!

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