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Economy

One Tool for Equitable Play: A Warehouse of Shared Toys

In The Hague, borrowed bicycles, skateboards, and roller skates knit immigrant communities together.
Kids inside a haagse hopje at the Jacob van Campen square, where they can borrow bicycles, skateboards, roller skates, and more.
Kids inside a haagse hopje at the Jacob van Campen square, where they can borrow bicycles, skateboards, roller skates, and more. Thessa Lageman

It’s a sunny day in the Schilderswijk neighborhood in the Dutch city of The Hague. A custodian with long dreadlocks stands in front of his Haagse hopje on the Jacob van Campen square.

It’s one of the 24 small buildings of its kind in the city. They’re located next to playgrounds, and offer children ages 4 to 12 the chance to borrow toys, games, and bikes. When the weather is good, small pools and bouncy castles are sometimes set up outside, and on rainy days the children can do crafts and games indoors.