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Volunteering in the Netherlands

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Where can I find out about opportunities to do useful voluntary work or join social clubs?

What kind of volunteer work is available in the Netherlands?

Volunteering was generally considered an activity to improve the well-being of others without any remuneration. It used to be thought of as being rooted in a positive attitude: working because you want to and not because you have to. It has now been expanded to a process of learning and developing. It takes many forms, and can be performed by a wide range of people in many areas, while giving the feeling of satisfaction that comes from giving back to a community, being helpful, being busy, meeting new people and developing skills. There are many interesting volunteering positions you can apply for in the Netherlands through different organisations.

The main popular volunteering areas are:

Community development

This encompasses volunteer work that aims to improve infrastructure and services like sanitation, water, permanent shelter, electricity, schools, gardening, reliable roads, and more.

Environment & wildlife

These are the services directed towards environmental and wildlife management. They can involve environmental monitoring, re-vegetation, weed removal and several other ecological restoration related processes. Raising awareness about the environment also falls under the same category.

Schools or education

Volunteering in schools may involve helping underprivileged children and adults to develop life-changing skills (like learning English, which can significantly improve the prospects of people living in developing countries), being a classroom helper, helping with fundraising efforts, etc. You can also participate in fun activities like drama productions, one-off events and chaperoning on field trips.

There are other areas where volunteers are utilised:

  • Community theatres, museums and monuments
  • Libraries or senior help centres
  • Clubs and organisations like school clubs, youth organisations, rotary clubs, sports clubs
  • Restoration activities for parks, and other public spaces
  • Places of worship

Volunteering can be done within an organisation, out in the field and from home, with tasks such as writing, graphic designing, emailing and social media.

Are there also volunteering opportunities if I can’t commit for a longer term?

Do I need a work permit in order to volunteer?

If I get a small fee for my volunteer work, is this tax free?