In the heart of Zwolle, a traditional café finds itself at the intersection of digital culture and the timeless value of face-to-face interaction. Café Hete Brij, known for its cozy atmosphere and convivial gatherings, recently made headlines by banning the popular smartphone game Wordfeud. This decision underscores a broader conversation about the impact of digital devices on social spaces and human connection.


Wordfeud, a game mirroring the classic Scrabble, allows players to engage in word battles on their smartphones. Its addictive nature and accessibility have made it a favorite pastime, transcending age groups and social settings. However, its presence in Café Hete Brij revealed unintended consequences, as patrons, captivated by their screens, began to drift apart from the communal fabric that defines the café’s essence.

A Bold Decision

Elles Hetebrij, the café’s proprietor, observed a decline in social interaction among patrons, prompting a decisive action to ban Wordfeud. A prominent sign now greets customers, signaling the café’s commitment to fostering a vibrant social atmosphere. Staff members are encouraged to gently remind patrons of this policy, emphasizing the importance of engagement and presence in the moment.

Why a ban?

Hetebrij’s stance is clear: while technology can enrich our lives, it should not replace the organic interactions that form the heart of community life. By discouraging Wordfeud, the café aims to cultivate an environment where conversations flow freely, and connections are strengthened, not weakened, by the setting. This policy is not about rejecting technology outright but about striking a balance that honors the café’s heritage and the value of human connection.

Digital Etiquette and Social Spaces

Café Hete Brij’s approach to managing digital distractions reflects a larger dialogue on digital etiquette in public spaces. As technology becomes further intertwined with daily life, businesses and individuals alike face the challenge of navigating its influence on social behavior. The café’s previous initiatives, such as restricting mobile phone calls, demonstrate an ongoing commitment to this balance, acknowledging the evolving nature of social norms and the need for adaptable solutions.


The Wordfeud ban at Café Hete Brij serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of preserving social interactions in the digital age. It invites us to consider how we engage with technology and each other, encouraging a mindful approach to digital devices in communal settings. As society continues to grapple with these issues, Café Hete Brij stands as a beacon for those seeking to foster genuine connections in an increasingly digital world.