Free Café Groningen – a free dinner made from leftovers

The Free Cafe (TFC) is a social initiative in the city of Groningen, The Netherlands. The Free Café is a place where you can eat for free every Wednesday and Sunday. Dishes are prepared by volunteers from food that would otherwise be thrown away (picked up / rescued at the market, bakery, supermarket, etc.).

Strategies and PRactices

The success of the Free Café is evident through the enthusiasm and popularity of the bi-weekly cafes – twice a week anywhere from 40 to 80 people crammed together for a free meal.  Since its fruition, the Free Café had seen several changes: it expanded its food collection, from just the market to grocery stores, bakeries, and the local food bank, and the organization changed. Currently, the free cafe organizes free meals on Wednesday and Sunday on two different and independent location. Similar initiatives also popped up in other Dutch sites – Amsterdam, Dordrecht, and Utrecht.


The mission of TFC is to create an environment where everybody feels welcome and to find their place. It welcomes young and old of every background: the neighbors, homeless, school classes, refugees, elderly and students. We want to achieve this by creating The Free Cafe and run it with all these people together, using generosity and collaboration – and without money. It dates back to 2014 when two enthusiastic art students came up with the idea to create space that exists without capital, where there are no boundaries between people, and everything is free.

To put it in a nutshell

The Free Café stands not only for the opportunity to fight food waste by sharing plenty of healthy free meals but also offers a space where we can live together without depending on market-driven forces.

Further information

Free Cafe Groningen | Ivanka Annott | TEDxUniversityofGroningen: