Funbase found a new base!

We asked our community to help look for a new home in Amsterdam where adults can learn to embrace their inner child & experience the wonderful, transformative powers of play. And we found the absolute perfect spot.

Kai Brouwer
Mar 3, 2017 · 8 min read

(Scroll down until you see the Funbase logo if you’d rather skip the backstory)

A little over three years ago I was in a bad place.

I felt completely stuck. Which was extremely frustrating because I thought I had everything figured out. I’d met the love of my life, had a good job as a UX designer, nice appartement, shiny new car and an impressive Facebook timeline—but yeah…

Still miserable.

It took quite a while for me to realise that all the things I valued so much in my life were never ever going to make me happy. And that trying to live my life the way people expected me to wasn’t either.

After a long time of hating the person I had become—I showed myself a little kindness and started to listen.

A simple (not really) first step to un-!@#$ myself.

Which began with the question:

When was the last time I truly felt happy?

The honest answer:

Many years ago when I was a young kid visiting my grandmother in Norway for the summer, playing for hours on end by the riverside together with my brother & sister. Feeling completely free of worry. Having this endless lust for adventure. And being able to spend entire days out in the woods picking blueberries, roasting marshmallows over the campfire, climbing trees and just being out in the beautiful mountains.

My imagination would run wild. And I could play as much as I wanted to.

My brother (Robin), sister (Lisa) and I playing out in the mountains, woods and rivers of Ørsta, Norway

Why couldn’t I feel like that again? Why had I lost my playfulness?

It was clear as day that I had become too serious about life. That playful little boy had somehow become angry with the world. Built a wall around him for protection. Not in tune with nature anymore, but incredibly materialistic. Always trying to chase the next big thing. Consequently postponing his happiness for tomorrow. And that’s just not how it works.

Because play isn’t tomorrow. Play is now. And I so desperately longed to play again… So something had to change.

For me it was to start playing again

Beautiful serendipity

I started to use my 3 year old niece to get into soft play centers for kids, with their trampolines, climbing walls and ball pits. Signed up for obstacle runs with friends. Even got a pet rabbit.

I untangled myself by gradually doing more things that made me feel happy.

It even sparked the idea for Funbase

Visiting all those play centers for kids with my niece had planted a seed in my heart. It started growing the moment I realised so many other adults my age felt too ashamed to play. To be silly. To just be themselves and don’t give a !@#$ about what their boss, colleague or neighbor would think of them.

Something deep inside of me was trying to get out.

And then one peaceful evening at my parents’ house, sitting around the dinner table, I jokingly asked my brother and sister something along the lines of:

Wouldn’t it be completely !@#$’-ing awesome if there’d be this place just for adults where you could indulge in play?

With trampolines, a ball pit ocean, climbing walls, huge slides, big screens with video games and LEGO cities stretching as far as the eye could see.

Where you’d be surrounded with likeminded people who also just want to play. So you could be yourself, meet new friends and never have to apologise for acting ‘child like’ ever again.

Needless to say I had their full attention. And together we spent the rest of the evening dreaming of wild ideas for our ultimate playground for big kids.

Unfortunately though, it stayed a dream for well over a year.

Because taking the first step is hard

The idea for Funbase roamed in the back of our heads every single day. Trying to claw its way out. But we just didn’t know where to start. We thought we needed a big bag of money to pull it off, so we even desperately started looking for one of those glorious angel investors. Yeah…

But then I stumbled upon this crucial bit of advice from The Happy Startup School that got us to stop (over)thinking and just start doing:

Dream big, start small, learn fast.

So, together with my brother, sister and friends, we planned our first play event on the 4th of April, 2015. In our existing office building. With a budget close to zero. We hooked up our computers, bought some extra NERF guns and then invited friends, family and colleagues over to play.

Funbase HQ back in april 2015. A makeshift playground with desks, blankets and office chairs.

From that point on we organised a new party every first Saturday of the month. And like little scientists we tested if our crazy idea could actually be something others desperately needed too.

Well, the short answer is YES. And the rest is history.

Fast forward to now

We’re still putting lots of love & attention into Funbase, but a lot has changed.
Not just the physical space—and the fact that we have an amazing tribe of playful adults attending our events every week—but especially our deep understanding of why this is so important right now.

Funbase: a home outside of home where you can be yourself, indulge in play and meet friends you haven’t yet met

True connection doesn’t need wifi

It feels to me like we’re living in the age of advanced digital connection and utter social disconnectedness. Where divides between people are getting bigger and bigger, mainly because some people feel the need to constantly magnify them.

Installation by artist Alexandr Milov, Burning Man 2015

I believe we need more places like Funbase where similarities are celebrated. Where our shared need as humans to play, be curious and feel accepted for who we are take center stage. Beautiful, safe spaces built with love where we can learn to be vulnerable again and tune into who we really are deep inside.

So we can live fuller, richer and more playful lives.

I’m happy to say that Funbase has delivered on this. And not just for myself. People have met new friends here. Found their tribe. Overcome personal struggles. Even found love.

As I count the bruises from playing in a ball pit, I also count my blessings.
4 years ago my love Lesley and I hit rock bottom and we had to build up our life from scratch, though the road is rough, the journey is amazing. Losing people along the way I thought I needed & loved, this past year I’ve found peace in living in solitude, learning to trust and believe in myself, turning dreaming into living. The only thing that was still missing was feeling part of our own tribe. Having found this at Funbase feels indescribably empowering. For us it’s not only about getting back in touch with our inner child, which is something my family taught me too, but also about connecting in the most relaxed way you can imagine. Every party gives us a boost in the right direction.

- Nena Dagloos

We’re happy to say we found the absolute perfect place to continue celebrating our shared love of play!

From the 1st of July 2017, Funbase HQ will be opening its doors in the buzzing Amsterdam-North district—at walking distance from Central Station. (Asterweg 20N)

A little impression:

Our wishlist back then

For starters we were looking for a space a little bit closer to the city center of Amsterdam. To make it easier for people to get to us with public transport in order to reach more play deprived souls (unfortunately a lot of those around these days).

But above all it had to have the right energy for us to call it home.

Our wishlist for the new Funbase HQ back in 2017:

  • Approximately 250 to 400 square meters of floor space (✔️)
  • Preferably within the A10 ring of Amsterdam (✔️)
  • Cozy, playful layout with high ceilings mixed with little nooks and corners so you can enter exploration mode (we’d like to add trampolines and climbing walls to the new place) (sort ✔️)
  • Excellent public transport connections (✔️)
  • Car friendly and low parking fees (especially during the weekends, when we host our play events) (✔️)
  • Airconditioning (sort of ✔️)
  • Kitchen facility (we‘d love to cook & serve healthy food on the spot) (✔️)
  • Great internet connection (preferably fiber optic connection) (✔️)

Oh, and it would be especially awesome if the location would have:

  • An outside space, terrace or park close by (rooftop terrace ✔️)
  • A view looking over the water (✔️)
  • Other fun places nearby (like bars & restaurants) (✔️)

Thank you so much for helping us out!

The search had been quite stressful. But thanks to all the help and beautiful serendipity we found the perfect space to call home.

We’d love to have you over some time. :)

My name is Kai Brouwer and as Guardian of Play & co-founder of Funbase my mission is to protect playfulness whenever it’s threatened. And to nurture it when neglected.


Funbase empowers young adults to reconnect with their inner…


Funbase empowers young adults to reconnect with their inner child by offering them a safe space to play, be themselves and meet kindred spirits.

Kai Brouwer

Written by

Co-founder of Funbase & Treehouse Tribe in Amsterdam. I’m at my happiest when I play, connect with like-minded people and go on adventures out in the mountains.


Funbase empowers young adults to reconnect with their inner child by offering them a safe space to play, be themselves and meet kindred spirits.