Dutch Digital Detox Events Encourage Social Connection

Published 10 June 2024

2 min read

In the Netherlands, people typically spend about two hours on social media daily, but 36% think social media threatens their mental wellbeing (Newcom, 2024). As consumers globally seek ways to limit their tech use (see Consumers & Screentime), brands can look to the device-free events winning favour in the Netherlands.

  • Locking the Phones Away: Dutch initiative The Offline Club organises regular digital detox events across the country, with tickets costing €7.50 ($8). At the start of these events – held in cafés, co-working spaces, yoga studios and even a church – visitors hand over their phones. The Offline Club sets time aside for attendees to chat, as well as allocating quiet self-directed time that can be spent reading, writing or crafting.

    Similarly, Dutch music events organiser Off the Radar urges its audience to connect with others by putting away digital devices (phones and smartwatches) in personal lockers upon arrival at its concerts.

  • Tech-Free Events for Real-Life Connection: For many consumers, the appeal of digital-free spaces is likely linked to a desire for deeper social connection amidst rising loneliness levels. In the Netherlands, 43% of adults reported feeling lonely in December 2023, and 59% worry about growing individualism and a decreasing amount of social interactions (RIVM, 2024).

    Growing loneliness and a declining number of social interactions are global trends. Worldwide, nearly one in four people report feeling “very/fairly” lonely (Gallup, 2023). See Cohesive Communities for more.

  • Create Social Spaces: Brands can help consumers who wish to socialise with others without phones – whether it’s with strangers or friends – by creating environments that stimulate conversation. Think of sponsoring tech-free gatherings or organising brand-specific socials that foster social connection.


For more on consumers’ tech attitudes, see Consumers & Screentime.

  • Locking the Phones Away: Dutch initiative The Offline Club organises regular digital detox events across the country, with tickets costing €7.50 ($8). At the start of these events – held in cafés, co-working spaces, yoga studios and even a church – visitors hand over their phones. The Offline Club sets time aside for attendees to chat, as well as allocating quiet self-directed time that can be spent reading, writing or crafting.

    Similarly, Dutch music events organiser Off the Radar urges its audience to connect with others by putting away digital devices (phones and smartwatches) in personal lockers upon arrival at its concerts.

  • Tech-Free Events for Real-Life Connection: For many consumers, the appeal of digital-free spaces is likely linked to a desire for deeper social connection amidst rising loneliness levels. In the Netherlands, 43% of adults reported feeling lonely in December 2023, and 59% worry about growing individualism and a decreasing amount of social interactions (RIVM, 2024).

    Growing loneliness and a declining number of social interactions are global trends. Worldwide, nearly one in four people report feeling “very/fairly” lonely (Gallup, 2023). See Cohesive Communities for more.

  • Create Social Spaces: Brands can help consumers who wish to socialise with others without phones – whether it’s with strangers or friends – by creating environments that stimulate conversation. Think of sponsoring tech-free gatherings or organising brand-specific socials that foster social connection.


For more on consumers’ tech attitudes, see Consumers & Screentime.