Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content
European Commission logo


EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

Last update: 28 November 2023

Special feature

39 percent of young people aged between 15 and 35 years participate in voluntary work according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS, 2021), for example in sports clubs, schools, care and nursing, youth organisations and in religious or philosophical organisations. The number of young people has declined since 2020, when it was 44 percent. There is no national stand-alone law on youth volunteering. Volunteering for all citizens, including youth, is part of the Social Support Act (2015) and promotes informal and formal social systems. The national government supports all voluntary activities. For example, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport) subsidises the Association of Dutch Voluntary Organizations (Vereniging Nederlandse Organisaties Vrijwilligerswerk (NOV). It has 375 member organisations (2023). Municipalities are responsible for the voluntary activities of their citizens and act as brokers to facilitate them in their own initiatives.


Since March 2020 all young people between 12 and 30 years old can voluntarily donate an amount of time to do social service:  maatschappelijke diensttijd MDT (Social service time), Doe mee met MDT (participate with MDT). Young people can work in a variety of sectors: nature & animals, sustainability, engineering and IT, politics and government, education, media and culture, sports, safety, and welfare and care. Social service takes at least 80 hours in a maximum of 6 months. Participants receive supervision, often training, and a certificate or other reward afterwards. In 2022, 71 projects have been awarded funding from subsidy round 5a, from which approximately 100,000 young people could start an MDT trajectory. Read more about social service time in paragraph 2.4.