Emiel van der Steen
Treasurer Residents’ Association Vredenburgh

How do you make your meeting more efficient, without sacrificing its social function? We ask Emiel van der Steen, treasurer of the residents’association Vredenburgh, Emiel explains how Yabbu contributes to the way in which they hold meetings.

The residents of Vredenburgh live in a beautiful historic building* in Amsterdam’s city center. They are rented houses with a strong social component, in which the residents themselves choose who gets to live there. Additionally, they manage a foundation, Studio’s Vredenburgh**, which has offered work and practice space for young and starting artists since 1987. In doing so, the foundation contributes to the development of performance and visual arts in Amsterdam.

The board and the residents meet a number of times per year to discuss finances, alterations in the composition of the residents, management of the studios, maintenance and renovation (central heating was installed recently, for example), and other pending matters. They are a sort rental variant of an owners’ association. One of the attendees makes notes and afterward distributes a report of decisions and action points. The archive consists of a binder with print-outs of all the minutes and relevant documents.

Why Yabbu?

The new board wanted to work in a more modern way and explore the possibility to work more digitally. We had the feeling that we could gain a lot by creating overview and accessibility of the documents. We also wanted to distribute responsibilities more evenly. In practice, it’s often the same people that take on the responsibility of working out and archiving documents.

The social component is the most important function of the meeting. Some residents initially worried that that function would become eroded. Efficiency is of lesser importance in this process. In the meantime, people have come to understand that Yabbu offers overview and structure.

How else have you benefited from Yabbu?

What’s nice about Yabbu is that it takes no effort, while having clear benefits:

  • Everyone has all relevant information at their disposal at all times: all you need to do is open the Yabbu app on your smartphone.
  • We now have a digital archive, which can be searched by all residents. When we add new residents, they also have access to the entire digital archive. Previously, we had hard-to-search printed files, that were only available on request.
  • Yabbu’s structure gives us a good grip on things. For instance, in the past, we always discussed the action points at the beginning of the meeting. Action holders would start a story, after which the chairman usually concluded that that actually belongs in a later agenda point. So you’re already holding the meeting, but in a unorderly way. Now we can see at a glance which actions still need to be taken, and in case there is cause to discuss an action, it’s usually put on the agenda.


* https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vredenburgh_(Amsterdam)
** http://studiosvredenburgh.amsterdam