Nikolai Wolfert wasn’t the only one who was bummed after the Berlin Green Party’s loss in 2011, but he channeled his disappointment in a pretty unique way: opening a lending library for everything. The 31-year-old launched his donation-supported shop, Leila, in June 2012 as a way of making local political change.
And to call it a success would be an understatement. More than 400 Berliners have joined Leila, donating and borrowing everything from electric drills to board games, unicycles, and wine glasses. Leila’s spawned a slew of good-natured copycats too, according to the Guardian:
Borrowing shops are under development in several Berlin districts, with similar projects being set up in Kiel and Vienna. Würzburg has its own Leihbar, or “borrowing bar,” and a cafe in Berlin-Wedding has set up a Dingeschrank, or “cupboard for things.” Other collaborative projects with an emphasis on sharing resources are popping up all over the German capital.
Car-sharing is flourishing in the country as well — the Guardian reports 760,000 Germans are registered with companies like Car2Go, DriveNow, and Tamyca. And they’re going green in other ways too:
In Wedding, 80 artists are working with recycled materials to build Berlin’s first “indoor treehouse,” which will eventually serve as a “local public think tank.” In Neukölln, the Trial & Error culture lab organizes swaps for artists’ materials and fashion items.
If the artists in Wedding need an electric drill, we have a pretty good idea where they can find one.