Blog > Griet Bouwen

New Belgian Network Exchanges Time, Talents, Not Money

Not everything we can offer to others needs to be paid for

As a native Dutch speaker, the English language has a lot of secrets for me. I can imagine this also works the other way.

There are the verbs, for example.  In English, the infinitive of a verb starts with "to." To write, to speak, to imagine, to share, to exchange, to create. In Dutch, we don’t put a word before the verb. We make the verb a bit longer, usually by adding the suffix "en."  "To write" translates as "schrijven;" "to speak" is "spreken;" "to imagine" translates as "verbeelden;" and "to share" is "delen."

Like it probably is in English, the Dutch language isn’t rigid, but constantly moving. New concepts, expressions and words pop up almost daily. Since last week, we have a new Dutch verb, dadelen, derived from the word "dadel," a small and sweet piece of fruit, translated as "a date."

The "dadelen-community" started up last week. More than 60 people attended the first meeting in Brussels. They join the community to exchange a bit of their time, knowledge, talents and specialties.  No euros are involved, only  the symbolic value of "dates:" 10 dates stand for a half-day exchange of time.  Every member of the community starts with a provision of 80 dates with which he can "buy" the help from another member. If the system gets a cruising speed, there will be a tremendous exchange of resources, completely based on reciprocity. Imagine how strong this kind of network could become.

"Dadelen" is not intended to become a replacement for real money. It’s the common interest in working towards societal transition that is appealing to the community.  As for me, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to engage in this network. I have the feeling I’m going to need the possibility of exchanging strengths in the times ahead of me.

By the way, isn’t it funny that the literal translation of "dadelen"  into English, becomes ‘to date’?

Wanting to discover it a bit further? You’ll find the Dutch website at I’m sure the broken English translation of Google will help you understand the essentials.


Nice for me as a Belgian living in Belgium to discover 'dadelen' at this website in Canada. :-)


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During preparations for the 5th Appreciative Inquiry World Conference, held in Belgium in 2012, Griet Bouwen bounced into the work of Axiom News and recognized her mission in its vision, themes and tone of voice.
This encounter, and the friendships that came out of it, led her to start up her own generative news agency in Belgium in 2013. Her small organization is called ‘Nieuwmakers’ (new makers) — because working with generative stories creates the capacity to see our world with new eyes, to spark new conversations, to make things new.
She experiences every day that asset-based, “appreciatively inquiring” stories do contribute to the development of organizations and the society in the direction we hope for. Since words create worlds, telling stories about peoples' hopes, actions and resources is already making a change, she says.

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