On this page
On this page
In the Netherlands there is no youth parliament at national level.
At local level and within youth help and care institutions
Various youth councils exist at local level, e.g. the Youth council in the municipality Goes (Jongerenraad in Goes) (only in Dutch). Almost all residential youth help and care institutions have a youth council, e.g. the Youth council of youth help organization Cardea (Jongerenraad Cardea) (only in Dutch) that provides services in 4 municipalities. These youth councils work together in the Youth welfare council (Jeugdwelzijnsberaad) (only Dutch), the largest platform of youth councils in youth help organizations in the Netherlands.
National Youth Council
The National Youth Council (Nationale Jeugdraad NJR) is a youth advisory board in which young people participate. More information:
The National Youth Council is an umbrella organization of youth councils for young people between 12 and 30 years. It was established in 2001 after an official letter (4 July 2001) (only in Dutch) from the State Secretary to the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer). In the letter the cabinet advices to start a national youth council, because of the importance to improve youth participation. The State Secretary states: “Youth participation gives the opportunity to children and young people to think along and join in the conversation. It is an instrument to better involve youth in society and let them take responsibility. Youth participation is an end not a means. The National Youth Council can be an important link in youth participation policy.”
The National Youth Council is not part of the Dutch constitutional structure, but is supervised by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and cooperates with this ministry.
In 2018 the board consists of 7 people. Their age ranges between 21 and 24. Candidate members can apply for a position in the board by sending an e-mail to the organization. The sitting board is not involved in the selection of new members. The National Youth Council is an alliance of 40 youth organizations. They select the board and the 8 youth representatives jongerenvertegenwoordigers (only in Dutch). Youth representatives form the link between young people and (political) institutions. They seek out opinions and ideas of young people and discuss them with policy makers.
Role and responsibilities
The objective of the National Youth Council is to stimulate and support youth participation at the national and local level. On an international level the National Youth Council also has an important role to provide youth representatives in European bodies and the United Nations. Youth representatives represent the voice of Dutch young people at the General Assembly of the UN, the European Union, UNESCO and the Climate and Sustainability Conferences. The Youth Council also advises national as well as provincial and local governments and other relevant organizations on youth policy.
The National Youth Council receives public funding from the central level (Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport). The board of the National Youth Council is financially accountable to this ministry. In the external evaluation report ‘Children’s rights and youth participation: two pillars of youth policy’ (Kinderrechten en jeugdparticipatie: twee pijlers van jeugdbeleid) (Timmerman, M.C. & Nijdam, F.) (2016) it was concluded that the National Youth Council saw possibilities to execute its main tasks even after the transformation in youth help and care in 2015, although the relation between tasks on national level and local level and the role and responsibility of the ministry were still unclear at that time.
National Students Union (Landelijke Studentenvakbond LSVb)
The National Students Union has been an important representative of Dutch students in higher education since 1983. The local student unions wished to have a voice at the national level and this gave rise to the establishment of the LSVB. The local unions play an important role. They are the representatives of students and they identify problems that must be addressed at the national level. The local unions also decide on policy through the General Assembly of the National Students Union.
The National Students Union has regular discussions with spokespersons in the education field from the Senate (in English) and the House of Representatives (in English) and with civil servants at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. For many years the National Students Union has been an official interlocutor in the Studentenkamer (Students room). The Studentenkamer is a public consultation between the Minister of Education and LSVB and ISO (see below). The LSVB also meets with educational institutions, de Vereniging Hogescholen (the Association of Higher Education) (only in Dutch) and de Vereniging van Nederlandse Universiteiten (VSNU) (the Association of Dutch Universities) (in English).
There are five student members in the board. They work fulltime and receive an administrative grant (Page 14, only Dutch) of €1,650 per month before taxes for their activities. The board members are responsible for the policy of LSVB. In addition to the board a team of volunteers is active. The National Students Union has 18 paid staff members and a few interns. Interested students can apply for a position on the board by sending an e-mail to the organization. They are also required to send a draft opinion article written from the perspective of LSVB. The selection committee is responsible for the distribution of functions.
- Role and responsibilities
The National Students Union represents the interests of students in higher education. They are active in a wide range of themes (only in Dutch) that affect students. A few examples are: Onderwijskwaliteit (Quality of education), Huisvesting (Housing of students).
The LSVB is subsidized by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Information is not available on the amount of funding they receive.
ISO (Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg) (in English)
In 1973, the Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg (ISO) (Dutch National Students Association) (in English) was founded in Amsterdam as a national umbrella organization for five university student councils from different cities in the Netherlands. These students felt the need to discuss affairs and exchange information with fellow student council members from other cities. It represents the interests of students in the Netherlands. Like the LSVB, ISO regularly meets with spokespersons of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, political parties and the Vereniging van Nederlandse Universiteiten (VSNU) (Association of Dutch Universities) (in English). ISO has 35 member organizations, together they represent about 700,000 students in higher education. These organizations are local students groups, councils and unions of universities and universities of applied sciences. Together they form the General Assembly, the highest body.
The board consists of 5 members and is responsible for the policies of ISO. ISO has 9 staff members which help the ISO on several topics. There is no information on the age range of the board.
- Roles and responsibilities
ISO (in English) represents the interests of students in all universities and universities of applied sciences. It aims to make sure that education is accessible for all people who are motivated and have the intellectual capacities to complete an education, regardless of socio-economic and financial background. The board consults with students, politicians and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
ISO aims to strengthen the role of students in participation. It provides information to students about their legal rights and obligations and where they can find this information in legal documents. ISO also provides information about the status of students’ participation in the Participation monitor (Medezeggenschapsmonitor) (only in Dutch), after a framework for better student participation was initiated by ISO following a letter in 2013 on the subject by the Minister of Education.
A new Law on strengthening administrative power (Wet versterking bestuurskracht) came into force as of 1st of September 2017, according to the official announcement (327) (only in Dutch).
ISO is subsidized by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Information is not available on the amount of funding they receive.
Jongeren Organisatie Beroepsonderwijs (JOB) (Youth Organisation Vocational Education) (in English)
JOB was founded in 1999 by the Landelijk Aktie Komitee Scholieren (LAKS) (National Action Committee Students) (only in Dutch). See below for more information about LAKS. JOB is active at national level, but is not part of the Dutch constitutional structure.
- Role and responsibilities
JOB (only in Dutch) is only for students in secondary vocational education. They represent the interests of these students, but also act as an advisory and support office. The board consults with politicians and with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science on issues that matter to students. Two examples of how JOB represents the interests of students:
In 2016 JOB worked together with the foundation Cultural Youth Passport (stichting Cultureel Jongerenpaspoort CJP) (only in Dutch) to make a culture card (cultuurkaart) available to secondary vocational education students. With this card vocational education students also are entitled to fee reduction for visiting museums and all kinds of cultural events in the whole country.
In 2010 JOB started the project ‘Your decision is included’ (‘Jij Beslist Mee’), to stimulate participation of students in vocational education. In March 2011 this resulted in the obligation of all vocational education institutions to have a working Central Students Council (Centrale Studentenraad CSR). This gives vocational education students the opportunity to participate and have a voice in the Boards of Schools.
JOB is subsidized by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Information is not available on the amount of money they receive.
Landelijk Aktie Komitee Scholieren (LAKS) (National Action Committee Students) (only in Dutch)
In 1984, LAKS (only in Dutch) was founded in Amsterdam by a few pupils to improve the legal status of pupils in secondary education. Thanks to LAKS it became mandatory by law that all schools have a student charter. This was achieved in 1993. LAKS is active at the national level and is highly independent.
The board consists of 7 members. The members are all pupils in secondary education. The age range is between 15 and 17 years. For the establishment of a new board the selection committee selects the new members. After selecting new members the selection committee presents them at the spring assembly.
- Role and responsibilities
LAKS represents the interest of pupils in secondary education. Pupils can reach LAKS if they have questions concerning secondary education. Exam candidates in secondary education can call the eindexamenklachtenlijn (exam complaints line) if they have questions or complaints about the conditions of their examination.
LAKS is subsidized by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Information is not available on the amount of funding they receive.
There are no other bodies of participation.