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EACEA National Policies Platform



Last update: 20 December 2023

Youth Policy in the Netherlands

Responsibility of the National Government

Youth policy is coordinated by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS). In the scope of this Youth Wiki and the eight themes of the European Youth Strategy it is important to mention that the Ministry of VWS works together with three other ministries related to various fields of care and welfare for children and young people: the Ministry of Justice and Security (concerning youth protection and probation), the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (concerning schools, other educational institutes and cultural education) and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (concerning preschool, leisure time, labour and income).  

Legal rules and regulations

Various acts are important for policy and measures for youth in the Netherlands: the Youth Act (2015) to address needs for preventive and specialized care; the Social Support Act (2015) to stimulate participation and citizenship; the Participation Act (2014) to stimulate participation in the labour market; and the Appropriate Education Act (2014).

Local youth policy

The implementation of youth policy has been decentralized to the municipalities. Since 2015, individual Dutch municipalities carry responsibility for the whole range of care for children, young people and families in need of support and assistance, including mental health provisions. Important for local policy are the Participation Act (2014), the Youth Act (2015) and the Social Support Act (2015).

The municipalities manage a wide range of services for children and families, from universal and preventive services to specialized - both voluntary and compulsory - care for children and young people from birth to 18 years of age. Each municipality bases its local youth policy on what is needed and available at local level, preferably together with citizens and stakeholders in their own local settings. Youth policies related to the eight themes of the EU Youth Strategy in the Netherlands are described in general in the following chapters, illustrated with numerous national and local examples and projects.

Ratio of young people in the total population on 1st January

Ratio of men and women in the youth population

Statistic references


Ratio (%) of young people in the total population (2017): Eurostat, yth_demo_020 [data extracted on 4/09/2018].

Absolute number of young people on 1 January for the age group 15-29 (2017): Eurostat, yth_demo_010 [data extracted on 4/09/2018].

Ratio (%) of men and women in the youth population (2017): Eurostat, yth_demo_020 [data extracted on 4/09/2018].

Young immigrants from non-EU countries (2016): Eurostat, yth_demo_070 [data extracted on 4/09/2018].