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Active Cues

Everybody has the right to play

Active Cues creates moments of happiness in residential care. We develop games for specific target groups, such as people with dementia, people with learning disabilities, or children with autism. We do this because we feel that everybody has the right to play. Play can contribute to everyone’s health and quality of life. For many people in our society, though, play is not self-evident. In particular, for those with a physical or mental impairment. We want to make play accessible for everyone and in that way, inspire as many people as possible in a fun way to start moving!

The Tovertafel Original, the first Tovertafel we developed, emerged from the PhD research of Hester Le Riche. Research is still one of our cornerstones. In developing our products, we use co-design sessions to work closely together with our target group and with universities around the world.

  • Summer 2009: The Tovertafel’s story begins

    with a conversation between designer Hester Le Riche an prof. dr. Erik Scherder, a conversation about their shared passion to improve the quality of life for older people with dementia. Erik talks about the passivity common in this group and the disastrous consequences this has for their health. “Can’t you come up with something to get these older people with dementia to move more?” Erik asks Hester. Her answer? “Yes!”
  • 2011: Begin project CRISP

    2011 sees the beginning of an interdisciplinary project called CRISP: G-MOTIV. Researchers and desigers work together with serious-game developers to look for ways to create behavioural change for people in the health care sector using game elements. Here, Hester meets Mathijs Konings and Sjoerd Wennekes from Monobanda.
  • December 2009: Start of PhD

    Hester begins her PhD at the TU Delft, (Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering) and the VU Amsterdam (department of Clinical Neuropsychology): Playful Design for Activation. Co-designing a serious game for people with moderate to severe dementia to reduce apathy.
  • 2012: A ‘Tovertafel’!

    “Het is… een tovertafel! [It’s a … magic table!]” an elderly man whispers in surprise during initial testing of the first games. The name Tovertafel is born!
  • 2013: Design

    Designing, designing, designing…
  • First install

    The first Tovertafel is installed at Viattence
  • 2011: Prototype Tovertafel

    First Tovertafel Prototype, developed together with Monobanda.
  • Zuid-Afrika: here we come!

    The first Tovertafel arrives in Cape Town, where Hester will further test the games.
  • Bring back the fun

    "With the Tovertafel, we can bring back the fun and, for a moment, put our sorrow and sadness aside. Creating new memories together, that’s what it is all about.” A care worker for residential care centre Houthaghe is interviewed in the AD newspaper.
  • 06-2015: Winner New Venture

    Active Cues wins the New Venture prize for ‘most innovative start-up in the Netherlands
  • Catching Fish

    "With all her might, a woman tries to catch the fish, but despite her efforts, they slip her grasp. ‘Those blasted animals just won’t be caught,’ she says, laughing with mirth.” AD
  • Start design project at Philadelphia

    In June, Active Cues begins a design project to develop a Tovertafel for people with learning disabilities, working together with clients and employees of the Philadelphia foundation.
  • Sport Innovation Prize

    Active Cues is a finalist for the Sport Innovation Prize 2015
  • Active Cues for autism

    Start of a research project called ‘Active Cues for Autism’. Active Cues begins the design of Tovertafel games for children with autism spectrum disorder. The project is funded by the Creative Industries Fund NL.
  • Best serious game

    In September 2015, Tovertafel wins the Dutch Game Awards for Best Serious Game
  • Growth

    Active Cues’ team grows!
  • Max Maakt Mogelijk

    The TV Programme Max Maakt Mogelijk [Max makes it happen] provides care home Angeli Custodes in Raalte with a Tovertafel! Watch the broadcast here Hier
  • 100 Tovertafels

    The 100th Tovertafel is installed!
  • Winner of the Co-generation Award

    Active Cues wins the Boer & Croon Co-generation Award for ‘organisations that want to make visible cross-generational cooperation’.
  • DIY!

    Active Cues grows too large for the old office. There are jobs to be done!
  • New office

    Moving to a new and larger office.
  • Even larger team

    Active Cues grows further! It now has 16 employees.
  • Launch of Tovertafel UP

    The Tovertafel UP is launched at Philadelphia Zorg. This Tovertafel is, by popular demand and together with care professionals, developed specifically for people with learning disabilities.
  • Win a Tovertafel

    In honour of International Nurses Day, Active Cues gives a Tovertafel UP to the care centre that gathers the most likes on Facebook. The Pergamijn foundation wins the grand prize!
  • Edwin van der Sar

    The Edwin van der Sar Foundation and Active Cues begin a joint venture. With help from the foundation, care centres for people with acquired brain injury can have the Tovertafel on loan for month. The festive kick off takes place at the HagaZiekenhuis, with Annemarie van der Sar in attendance!
  • Tovertocht

    Over a period of three weeks, more than 4600 people joined the Tovertocht. By solving riddles, players could win a place in the finale with a chance to win a grand prize: a Tovertafel Original. The finale took place on September 21st (World Alzheimer’s Day) in Burgers’ Zoo Arnhem. The exciting final match was won by Het Land van Horne.
  • Doubling the team

    Active Cues continues to grow!
  • 500 Tovertafels

    500 Tovertafels have been installed
  • Launch Tovertafel Unique

    On April 2nd, World Autism Day, Active Cues launches the Tovertafel Unique; a set of games developed specifically for children with autism spectrum disorder.
  • 10 million

    In 2025, we deliver 10 million moments of happiness each day in the care ecosystem: that is our audacious goal!
  • Start of preliminary research

    Hester sets up three preliminary research studies. Two focus on the physical and social environment of older people with dementia and how that influences their activity level and another study to look into suitable play experiences.
  • 2012: Conceptual design Active Cues

  • 2013: Developing Active Cues games

    In 2013, we began a co-design process to develop the Active Cues games: we built a prototype and did evaluation studies
  • 2015: Hester’s research is published

    In August 2015, Hester’s research is published in the ‘international journal of design’
  • PhD defence Hester

    At the end of April, Hester Le Riche gets to defend her PhD thesis. Of course, we are there to cheer her on!

Who is who?

Executive Team
Innovation management
Marketing & Communication
New Businesses
Product Development
Team Germany
Team UK
Training & Service
Team France
  • Sjoerd Wennekes
    New Business
  • Hannah Buenting
    Marketing & Communicatie
  • Claudia de Widt
    Marketing & Communicatie (manager)
  • Reinie Westerink
  • Maaike van Pinxteren
    CFO + Finance
  • Guido Soetens
    Software Development
  • Hester Le Riche
    CEO + Research & Design
  • Judith de Groot
    Research & Design
  • Mathijs Konings
    Product Development
  • Rajiv Krijnen
    Product Owner
  • Thom Smeets
    Product Development
  • Claudio Olivieira
    Training & Service
  • Marthe van der Horst
    Training & Service (manager)
  • Netty de Graaf
    Sales (Manager)
  • Wesly van Wijnbergen
    Training & Service
  • Ies Wierdsma
  • Laura Campschreur
    Marketing & Communicatie
  • Eric Huizer
  • Edwin Korteweg Maris
  • Lieneke van Waalwijk van Doorn
  • Yvette de Knikker
  • Angela de Groot
    Office manager
  • Hester van Zuthem
    Research & Design
  • Jolanda Korrel
    Training & service
  • Ramazan Sahin
  • Hagar Bouwens
  • Martin Klitsie
    Innovation management
  • Claire Bernaards
  • John Ramsay
    Sales UK
  • Mehdi Bedioui
    Service UK
  • Jonathan Arnaud
    Sales FR
  • Max Bayle
    Sales FR

Active Cues HQ

Hamburgerstraat 28a
3512 NS Utrecht
Btw NL854871780B01
KvK 62573764