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EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

2.5 Cross-border mobility programmes

Last update: 28 November 2023

On this page

  1. EU programmes
  2. Other Programmes
  3. Legal framework applying to foreign volunteers

EU programmes

European Solidarity Corps (2018-present)

As an EU Member State, the Netherlands participates in the European Solidarity Corps. Founded in 2018, the European Solidarity Corps is an European Union initiative that allows young people between the ages of 18 and 30 to volunteer in projects that benefit communities and people around Europe. Flagship of the programme are the Volunteering Projects, in which young people volunteer between 2 weeks and 12 months in another Member State of the EU or a partner country. The current programme runs from 2021 to 2027. Horizontal priorities of the programme are inclusion & diversity, participation, digital transformation and sustainability. 

The Netherlands annually hosts between 150-200 young people from Europe at a wide array of receiving organisations in the Netherlands. Between 100-150 young people from the Netherlands volunteer abroad every year through the European Solidarity Corps.

Other (centralised) actions of the European Solidarity Corps include Volunteering Teams in High Priority Areas and the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps. Currently, organisations from the Netherlands are not actively involved in these actions. 

Participation of the Netherlands in the European Solidarity Corps covers the entire Kingdom of the Netherlands, including the countries of Curaçao, Aruba and Sint-Maarten. Youth participation in the programme is monitored through the dashboards and IT-tools developed to this end by the European Commission. 

European Voluntary Service (as part of Erasmus+ and predecessor programmes) (1996-2017)

Before the European Solidarity Corps became a standalone programme, similar activities already took place as part of the Erasmus+ programme and its predecessors (e.g. Youth in Action). Therefore, cross-border mobility as part of an EU programme has existed from as early as 1996. Under the action termed European Voluntary Service (short: EVS), the Netherlands built a tradition of sending and hosting international volunteers. Many of the organisations that joined the programme during this period are still active today.  

Whereas the focus of EVS was largely on building intercultural competence, providing a non-formal learning experience and bridging potential gaps to the labour market, the European Solidarity Corps brought with it a more value-based approach, in which a larger emphasis is placed on the concept of solidarity and the community impact of activities. 

Relevant agencies and authorities at national level 

The National Agency for Erasmus+ Youth, Erasmus+ Sport and European Solidarity Corps is responsible for carrying out the decentralised actions of the European Solidarity Corps. It is commissioned to perform this task by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The National Agency is part of the Netherlands Youth Institute (a national knowledge centre collecting, enriching, explaining and sharing knowledge about growing up and parenting). The National Agency and the institute combine efforts to strengthen the impact of the programme. 

Other relevant parties 


Eurodesk is an international non-profit association created in 1990. As support organization to the Erasmus+ and European Solidarity programmes, Eurodesk offers comprehensive and easily information about international learning mobility opportunities. Eurodesk is present in 34 countries. In these countries, Eurodesk Centres help multipliers in their work to carry out Eurodesk’s mission: ‘to raise awareness among young people on learning mobility opportunities and encourage them to become active citizens.’ 

The Dutch Eurodesk Centre is managed from the office of the National Agency for Erasmus+ Youth, Erasmus+ Sport and the European Solidarity Corps. On its website Go-Europe, the Eurodesk Centre provides a section with information on all aspects and possibilities of voluntary work abroad. 


To promote and help build awareness of the possibilities of the Erasmus+ Youth and European Solidarity Corps programmes, the Netherlands participate in the EuroPeers network. EuroPeers are all past participants of the EU youth programmes and as such are experts in informing and motivating their peers to take part. With the support of the National Agency, EuroPeers visit schools, hold and attend events and are active on social media. EuroPeers receive regular training to further develop their skills. 

European Youth Portal 

The European Youth Portal offers European and national information about opportunities and initiatives that are of interest to young people living, learning and working in Europe. It includes information about the European Solidarity Corps. The European Youth Portal contains an online environment where young people can sign up and apply for volunteering opportunities under the European Solidarity Corps. The European Youth Portal is available in 28 languages. It addresses young people, but also other stakeholders working in the field of youth, such as youth organisations, youth workers and policy makers. 

EU Presidency

The EU has 27 Member States (2023). Each six months, one of the EU Member States holds the EU Presidency. In 2023 Sweden holds EU presidency from 1 January to 30 June, followed by Spain from 1 July to 31 December. The President of the EU presides over the meetings of the Council of the European Union. The aim of the President is to maintain unity and cooperation between Member States and to set priorities.

From January 1 to June 30, 2016, the Netherlands held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the twelfth time. The next EU presidency of the Netherlands will be in 2029.

EU Youth Dialogue

EU Youth Dialogue is a dialogue mechanism between young people and decision makers taking place in the framework of the EU Youth Strategy. This is a way to ensure that the opinions, views and needs of young people and youth organisations are taken into account when defining the EU's youth policies. It supports the implementation of the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027 which focuses on three main core areas,‘connect, engage and empower’, and encourages cooperation between the EU countries in respect to all issues concerning young people.  

The Dutch National Youth Council NJR is responsible for the EU youth dialogue, together with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Netherlands Youth Institute NJi. The EU Youth Dialogue is made possible in part by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission.

Other programmes

The Netherlands currently does not participate in any other cross-border mobility programmes for volunteers. The Netherlands does have its own national volunteering scheme (Maatschappelijke Diensttijd). More information on this scheme is available in Paragraph 2.4 of this Youth Wiki. 

Legal framework applying to foreign volunteers

Incoming volunteers from Schengen Area countries can freely move to the Netherlands without prior registration. Volunteers from other countries might need a visa, depending on their length of stay. The Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service is the authority deciding on visa applications. 

All incoming residents intending to stay in the Netherlands for 4 months of longer must register in the Personal Records Database with their local municipality. Registration typically does not take a lot of time and makes interactions with banks, health care institutions etc. easier.