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Meet Buddy to Buddy Breda

    Are you new in the Netherlands and eager to immerse yourself in Dutch culture and society? Or perhaps you grew up in the Netherlands and would like to engage with other communities in Breda? Then Buddy to Buddy is the perfect initiative for you! Buddy to Buddy pairs newcomers with locals based on equality and shared interests. Together, they embark on a four-month journey to broaden each other's horizons. We spoke to Anne Abdoel, former buddy and current project coordinator of Buddy to Buddy Breda, about this beautiful social initiative.

    Access to Dutch society

    “Many people who come here are looking for connection,” says Anne. She also participated in the buddy program and then joined as project coordinator of the social enterprise. “You have to imagine that many of these people have had to leave their home for whatever reason and have to build a completely new life in a foreign country. This can lead to loneliness. Buddy to Buddy is then an accessible way to connect with people outside your bubble."

    From sign-up to match

    Anyone can become a buddy. The only thing you need to do is sign up through their website. Anne explains: "When you sign up, we ask for your contact details as well as your hobbies and a photo of yourself. We will then contact you to go through the information so that we have the full picture. We also invite you to our information evening where we provide more explanation about this wonderful four-month journey. At the end of the evening (or the next day), you decide whether you want to commit to the buddy programme. After the information evening, we start the matching process. We pay a lot of attention to making the right match. In addition to our own impressions, we also have a digital matching system that helps us make the right match. But a good match remains a human process!"

    Once all matches have been made, this social initiative organises the well-known Buddy to Buddy matching dinners. These are held about five times a year at different locations that are typical to Breda. It's where buddies meet for the first time. A special evening. Everyone's a bit nervous at first, but by the end of the evening, they leave as friends.

    Becoming a buddy makes you a richer person.

    There are now more than 1600 buddies in Breda. According to Anne, being a buddy enriches both the newcomer and the local. "You should not see this as charity or helping someone in the literal sense," she says. "As a buddy, both parties get a glimpse into each other's culture. After the four-month programme, you decide yourself how your relationship with your buddy is. Some stay in touch, others leave it at the buddy programme. Whatever the outcome, it is still a valuable experience."

    You can easily sign up via Buddy to Buddy's official sign-up form.