World shop happy to close after 50 years

50 years old wereldwinkel closing (PC:Studio040)

The World Shop on the Hoogstraat is in Eindhoven. Buddha figurines, bags made of recycled plastic and sustainable sweets fill the shelves. But after almost 50 years, the shop is closing its doors. “We have become redundant,” says volunteer Marianne Kemps with satisfaction.

In 1969, the Netherlands’ first World Shop opened its doors in Breukelen. The shops were created to make people aware of fair trade. At the height of its popularity, there were 400 shops in the Netherlands.

Eindhoven also had its World Shop branch. It was first located in various places in the city centre. Some 12 years ago, it moved to the Hoogstraat in Gestel. For a while now, business has been slack.

“Customers can buy fairtrade coffee and tea anywhere these days,” Marianne explains one of the causes. “Also, since Covid, people are used to scouring the internet for responsible gifts.”

No disaster

This development has made the World Shop shop redundant. However, this is not a disaster according to the volunteers, because in their eyes the mission has been successful. Sustainable products can be found everywhere these days, from supermarket shelves to larger fashion chains.

Also, it is difficult to find successors for the permanent core of volunteers who are getting on in years. In the past, you could always find unemployed young people willing to roll up their sleeves for nothing. In today’s labour market, things are different. “Whether you’re a plumber or a fashion salesperson, you can get a job anywhere,” he says.

Another problem is that rent has to be paid these days. “That means you can only maintain a shop like this if you put in money,” Marianne says.

The end

The physical shop may be disappearing, the message remains. From now on, the volunteers will move to other activities. For example, they will offer workshops on sustainability in the neighbourhoods.

For instance, the hay boxes, an invention from around 1900, will be taken out of the attic. Food can be cooked in the insulated box, which has clear advantages advantages. “Instead of having something on the gas for three quarters of an hour, you only need to have it on the gas for 10 minutes”.

Handy, but anyone who still wants to pick up something at the World Shop should be quick. The shop is closing its doors at the end of this year.

Source: Studio040

Translated by :Shanthi Ramani

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