Nærvær – a unique concept bringing people together

“It’s the people who create relations and communities – not bricks and mortar.”

Those were the thoughts of René Brandt, Managing Director at Ikano Bolig, as he re-visited some of the award-winning areas he had been involved in building before he joined Ikano. There was no interaction between people. Void of life. It was lonely.

So, when René and his team introduced Ikano Bolig on the Danish market, the vision was to create homes for the many people. But also to provide a space where people can meet. This is one of the ways Ikano Bolig helps create better living by enabling relations to grow through get-togethers while being present in the area and further understanding our tenants. This is the foundation of Nærvær. The concept is unique to Ikano Bolig and will be part of every new development.

What is Nærvær?

Nærvær is the name of the community house we build and hand over to a community of tenants. It is also the name of a membership community where you support your local Nærvær house and the community work through a small annual fee.

It is based on volunteers – from staffing the café to organising events in the community house. Everyone from the surrounding neighbourhoods is welcome and you don’t need to be a paying member to drop in for an event or a coffee.

Nærvær is meant to help create a strong sense of community and belonging. In the Nærvær community house, we create the frames for people to meet over a cup of coffee or an activity. And these meetings are the beginning of friendly neighbourhoods that we hope will grow and bloom.

Creating the frames for a great community

Despite face masks and social distancing, the first Nærvær community house opened in Greve, outside of Copenhagen, in April. The tenants have enjoyed football on a big screen, Friday After Work-gatherings, Knitting Tuesdays, and a book club is underway. Coming closer to the holidays, they enjoy Advent get-togethers and for 31 December, they will meet and wish each other a happy new year.

The effect can already be seen and felt. Neighbours in Greve are becoming friends and are happily surprised about how much they interact with one another – not just with their next-door neighbour, but also neighbours down the road and even further away. This is the effect of Nærvær! Through Nærvær, we hope to contribute to bridging human qualities across age, profession or education, enriching everyone’s sense of belonging.

And by the way… In Danish, Nærvær means presence, being together and physical proximity.

“We talk so much about being lonely. But here in Greve, that is virtually impossible.”

One of Ikano Bolig’s tenants about Nærvær