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EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

Last update: 30 March 2022

Special feature

48 percent of young people aged between 15 and 25 years participate in voluntary work, for example in sports clubs, schools, care and nursing, youth organisations and in religious or philosophical organisations. 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 Effort Organisations (Vereniging Nederlandse Organisaties Vrijwilligerswerk). 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 14 and 27 years old can voluntarily donate an amount of time to do social service (maatschappelijke diensttijd). 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. Read more about social service in paragraph 2.4.