Mortsel is trying interlink the city with people's lives, Source: Mortsel on Facebook

Mortsel in Belgium offering benches for adoption, making the city feel personal

Mortsel in Belgium offering benches for adoption, making the city feel personal

The programme is part of the city’s initiative, promoting Mental Health Resilience through public spaces and community caring

Today, the Belgian city of Mortsel announced a new programme called Adopteer een bank (Adopt a bench) as part of the city’s 10 Days of Mental Health initiative. The initiative plans to promote mental wellbeing through the city’s welfare department, with this year’s focus falling on conversation versus isolation.

This is what ‘Adopt a bench’ is all about. Through the initiative, Mortsel has put up 16 benches across the city for adoption, meaning, people can volunteer to take care of them and organise inclusive community events, picnics and conversations to counter the effects of post-pandemic and autumn loneliness and depression.

Be a part of the city’s vibrant fabric

The city of Mortsel has identified public furniture as an essential part of life for citizens, especially when it comes to forming connections to other people. According to a press release, the city is dotted with benches where people regularly meet for a chat or a picnic. Local authorities emphasise people’s personal experience with the city, through a first kiss on a bench or the place where people rest after a long day of work.

There are several hundred benches in Mortsel and local authorities have decided to start with two per city district, totalling out at 16. The ‘adoption’ application process will start from 5 October and will last until 5 December.

Applicants may include: a single person or group, an association, a business and etc. and the applicant needs to have an explicit personal connection to Mortsel. If the city approves an adoption application, the applicant will get their name and logo (if applicable) on a plate attached to the bench for a period of 15 years or until the bench is removed through expected wear and tear in the city.

The city explicitly states that the adoptees do not have any exclusive rights and privileges to the bench, as it remains public property.

10 Days of Mental Health

The 10 Days of Mental Health are starting today and workers from the welfare department in Mortsel are expecting visitors for chats throughout the city’s parks. People can talk about the little things, or the big things, whatever they feel comfortable with. The point local authorities are trying to make is that everyone needs a ‘how are you really doing’ talk, especially after months of isolation.

Here are the dates and locations for the meetings:

  • Monday, October 4: Parkske (between Edegemsestraat and Heilig-Kruisstraat);
  • Tuesday 5 October: Koeisteerthofdreef 37;
  • Wednesday, October 6: skate park Hollandse Tuin;
  • Thursday, October 7: Gemeenteplein ('terminus');
  • Friday 8 October: square about Meerminne 6.



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