Give and Take: A Look At The Growing Trend of Community Giveboxes in Germany

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

Everyone loves getting a good deal, whether it is saving a few pennies at the grocery store or receiving something as a free gift to go along with your purchase.  There are also many of us that get an itch of generosity and decide to donate some unwanted yet slightly used items to Goodwill.  In Germany, there is a growing trend that melds the giving and taking into one helpful and fun concept where ordinary people can drop off an item that is no longer wanted in exchange for someone else’s useful but unneeded treasure, all at a simple public location.

Cropping up in cities across Germany, these community exchange boxes go by many names: Bartering Box, Tauschzelle, Giveboxes.  While the names differ, the concept remains the same and they have become little treasure boxes where someone’s junk really can be someone else’s treasure.

In the city of Bremen, the local church youth group “Garden of Eden 2.0″ recently turned an old yellow phone booth into a Tauschzelle in one of the cities disadvantaged neighborhoods.  The project has seen great results with a steady stream of givers and takers and this alternative approach to sharing creates a more friendly atmosphere for those in need of some help.  Heidi Remmers, a key initiator of the Bremen Tauschzelle, commented that “It’s just a good feeling to not throw away perfectly good stuff, but rather to give someone the joy of having it who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it”, and despite its location, there has been no vandalism.

For more info on this Tauschzelle and some stories from those who have utilized them, check out the source link below.  Also, please feel free to share your thoughts on this new idea in the comments below.


Photo by Radio Bremen

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Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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