12 questions you never dared to ask

0. What is CasaRobino?

A self-organised travelers home, a nomad base. It is also a real social network of traveling friends that keeps on expanding, who comes to their «Amsterdam based house» once in a while, to stay for just a couple of days or for much longer, who comes here to learn and or to contribute.

The essence of the casa's philosophy is that anyone here is everyone's host. We are all independent travelers who know perfectly well how to live our lives and who have a lot of experience in terms of hosting others. Therefore we are all hosts here and no 'guests'. We all share the house here and we try to reach to its potential, take care of each other and of the house.

1. When was Casa Robino set up?

The Casa is a process without a given start-date or end-date. There are different periods within the development of the Casa and it is not easy to be very factual about this. Some facts though: February 2008, robino started renting this house and the first hosts arrived shortly after to help building up the house. In June 2008, things started rolling with a hospitality exchange conference here. In August 2008, many hitchhikers arrived after the European hitchhiking day that gathered 150 hitchers to Paris. In October 2008, the website was set up by one of the hosts, which was also the birth of the name «CasaRobino». This name wasn't robino's idea by the way. He agreed to it, as the house is named after him, but not as in robino's house. This is an important difference. In principle the casa is of each who lives here, who has been here and who yet has to come.

2. Why did you come up with Casa Robino?

There isn't one source. It is a coming together of multiple factors, of multiple people and multiple ideas. The first factor was when robino was traveling in Istanbul and had the opportunity to stay with friends and friend of friends for umlimited periods. He could basically stay as long as he needed and as long as it was possible. That blew his mind and from that moment he believed in unconditional long-term hospitality as a new way forward in the hospitality exchange movement.

The second factor is that we have a large network of friends of friends who travel a lot, who don't have real homes, who are nomadic. We want to offer them a home where they can be themselves, where they won't be judged for what they do, where they can contribute with sustaining and building up the house and our networks, and relax at the same time and feel free to do whatever.

The third factor is that robino just wanted to live in the way he wants to, i.e. as free as possible and among people who can further inspire. The best way of doing that is to invite these people in a house which is theirs, and to give them open access. And as soon as he got his own place, he decided to share it with anyone who could fit in the house.

3. How many guests do you have on average?

There is no average and we don't believe in statistics. We have moments where we are with 4 or 5 people or sometimes with a lot more, which also depends on the moment of the day and the moment of the week. There are many sleeping places and it really depends on the amount of space someone needs, to determine how many people the house can take in.

4. How long do people stay on average?

It really depends on the amount of space there is. In principle people can stay as long as they need to, or as long as is sustainable for the house. People decide themselves when they leave by taking their own and other peoples interests into account. There are people who have been staying for multiple months and even longer. There are nomads who keep coming back, and nomads who never left.

5. How do people get in touch with you?

Most people are connected with us through our networks of friends' friends and through hospitality exchange networks such as bewelcome, couchsurfing and warmshowers. People also get to know about us through other friends, and new hosts are sometimes also literally send over by other friends. We hardly have to deny hospitality to these people. When there is too little space left, they mostly have enough flexibility to show up at a later time. Other people also contact us through the website or just show up. We also sometimes pick up people that we meet on the streets or at a meeting or gathering. It really depends per person and per situation and there is no official bureaucratic way.

6. What are the best things about Casa Robino?

- the people
- the atmosphere
- resourcefullness
- the love, caring
- we are all hosts
- punks & hippies
- the hackers
- the food
- trash/ dumpster diving
- trashwiki.org
- the garden
- the bikes
- the website
- the swapping
- hitchhiking
- mutual empowerment
- mutual inspiration
- lack of microwave and tv
- the hugs
- the casabook
- the dynamics

7. What activities do you share with the other hosts?

People here in the house share many things together, and undertake many activities. These things happen quite randomly, and range from traveling together by bike or thumb, going out clubbing, hanging out in Amsterdam's coffeeshops, etc. But we also for example organise clothes and book swapping events, and invite the local community and travelers alike to come and get some new old clothes and books. We also do a lot of skillsharing in terms of free software, such as the gnu/linux operating system and also web-applications, design, etc.

Every Thursday - for half a year now - we also have open dinners in the house. We go and collect food from the market, food they give away for free that is otherwise thrown away. We then cook together multiple dishes and invite anyone who wants to come along. The preparation and the dinner itself take on average 7/8 hours. We have welcomed well over 250 people for these dinners in the past 6 months.

Apart from these open dinners, we tend to cook a lot in general and in doing that we exchange our skills and knowledge. Since recently we also make our own bread. We have had two hosts coming over who travel around Europe by making bread (http://www.pastamadre.org), and who share their skills on how to do this. They travel with a type of dough that can be extended and which forms the basis of the bread. We now also cultivate this dough ourselves and make a lot of bread with it.

Other activities that we do: gardening, building things in the house, painting together, making art, philosophy, building/repairing bikes. We also do a lot of collective brainstorming for projects that people here are thinking about setting up.

8. Have there been any conflicts/issues that have risen since Casa Robino was set up?

Just some minor things, people bringing in meat for example, or people who are just here to 'consume'. But a conflict rather arises in the way you deal with it. And we tend to be very resourceful in explaining what we like and what we don't like, and why. Because of our approach to any potential conflict (in a caring way) they don't really arise.

Most issues might arise on a personal level. People come in and some can get a bit confused by no-one taking them by the hands. We expect a lot from the people who come in, and some need their time to adjust to the fact that we are trying to live collectively, no matter how short or long you stay here. For some people this brings up conflicts within themselves, especially when they are confronted with how other people perceive their consumptive behaviour.

The house basically loves initiatives. Sometimes new people ask 'can I do anything to help', 'do you need a hand', or 'let me know if there is anything I can do to help'. This is generally seen as a way for people of not taking initiative, as a way out for not doing anything. We then explain the new people there are many things one could be doing, and it really is the best way to look around what one could do, and to come up with suggestions themselves of what they could do. This way of being straight in our communication can be quite challenging for some people.

9. What kind of people show up in front of your doorstep?

A bit of everything but mostly travelers, nomads, cooks, hitchhikers, artists, spiritual people, cyclists, people who move to Amsterdam, squatters, hippies, business people who are looking beyond, cultural refugees, vagebonds, etc.

10. What are the rules of the house?

There are no rules actually. We have nine guidelines and one connecting rule, but we don't remember that one rule and the person who made it up isn't here. The guidelines are called "guidelines for sustainability" and are pretty straightforward:

'Guidelines for Sustainability'
* The house does not like dead animals nor fish;
* You take what you need and share what you want;
* Once you are in the house, you share the house;

'As a guest: be a host!'
* Open the door when the doorbell rings (and ask for the password);
* Welcome new people to the house & offer them a hug;
* Think of others first, before you think of yourself;

'Work Consciousness'
* Look around and act for what could be better/ improved;
* Think about what unique gifts you have to offer;
* Ask for help if things are blocking you or slowing you down;

11. How do you see the future of the house?

Bright! The future of the house is very much connected with how it is now, with who shows up and what is being contributed. There are however many ideas of where we would like to go from here. We really would like to encourage more people to create this kind of communal living spaces with a lot of space for travelers and nomadic people, where they can stay without having to pay, where they can contribute with their hands and their ideas. And we are committed to create more spaces for people in terms of dynamic collaborative spaces where they can live and learn.


lilylove's picture


Beautiful summary! Ahh the casa is just home at the end of the universe.

Also, charlie and i stayed with a man name david, three cats and two turtles about 20kms outside of budapest, in a mongolian yurt, and it was called 'the place'. There was 'the document' similar to the casa, and a very similiar flow. It was the first time i found something so similar... and so beautiful... so they do exist elsewhere! hooray!

lauralou's picture

Good responses

and this is the first time I read the guidelines.

It makes me think back to arriving back to my home in Weesp after my first weekend at La Casa. I was confronted with a room of six of my college friends via google video chat. As I described my wonderful weekend and the place where I had been, I also felt a bit like an evasive speaker at a press conference, answering their many questions with "I don't know...I didn't ask."

It's certainly not that I didn't care. I had my own theories on la casa and reasons for not asking. In general, I do not like to ask questions because I fear I will interrupt the energy of an environment. I would like to relate my feeling at the Casa to what I would feel if swimming in the ocean observing the beautiful sea life. It would be wrong for me to come in and start prodding and poking around, interfering with something that existed well before me.

But this metaphor would be wrong as it leaves out the elements of initiative, love, and sharing.

Which just supports the case that little exists in the world worthy of comparison to Casarobino. But, maybe that will change soon. Maybe Casarobino will be a generic term.

"It's a casarobino."

"Oh! Can I come, too?"

"Did you have to ask?"

amylin's picture

this is so great

can i put a link to this post on my blog?

robino's picture

you really wanna ask?

no :)

amylin's picture


ok, i'll post it now then :)