Do you want to do volunteer work and get to know more about the Netherlands? Take a look at our Dutch volunteer projects. The projects are spread across the Netherlands, you can choose from working in a refugee’s centre, in a second-hand shop or in a nature-protected area.
The Dutch volunteer projects explained
Our Dutch volunteer projects are conducted by a group of about 7 up to 20 volunteers, from various countries, within a social organisation. For the duration of 2 weeks (throughout July, August and September) the volunteers work and live together. During the work activities two trained Dutch project leaders mentor the group. In the spare time, the group can participate in activities and workshops to get to know each other and the Netherlands.
- Do volunteering work in the Netherlands
- Join a group of international volunteers
- Help a Dutch social organisation for two weeks
- We arrange accommodation, food and (in most projects) a bicycle for you
This is where the Dutch volunteer projects take place
What are you going to do during a Dutch volunteer project?
- The project takes place in the refugee center in Emmen which is a location for families with children. Our partner is the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (in Dutch: COA). The COA provides accommodation during the asylum procedure.
- The children in the center are between 4 and 12 years of age. These children participate in a school program, but during the months of July and August, there is the summer holiday break. The volunteers will then organise activities for ánd with the children.
- This type of work calls for creative people who can make up all sorts of games from scratch to play with the children: music, sports, arts, language sessions, creativity, etc. The content of this project is up to you and the other participants. The games are scheduled throughout the week.
- The ‘Drentsche Aa’ area is a varied old cultural landscape, shaped by age old interplay of agriculture and nature. The ‘Drentsche Aa’ is also the name of the stream that meanders through this area and creates a typical landscape that is declared National Park, managed by the Dutch State Forestry.
- The participants will do various activities of nature protection like cutting, dredging, pilling up the paths, haymaking and light construction work.
- You will also work together with other local people who do voluntary nature work. The local rangers are very supportive and looking forward to host you in their beautiful area. ‘The Drentsche Aa’ has been nominated most beautiful landscape of the Netherlands.
- This is one of our oldest projects; SIW has been working together with State Forestry for 12 years!
- Emmaus Haarzuilens is a community which provides home for former homeless people and others who strongly feel related to Emmaus ideology. This project offers you the opportunity to get to know more about the vision and mission of Emmaus.
- The volunteers will live and work together with the residents of Emmaus. Because of the summer market, which will take place at the end of the project, this period of the year will be extra busy. The volunteers will help out where necessary, which can mean that some days are busier and others less so.
- The work will include picking up second hand goods together with the Emmaus residents and placing them in the shop. Also the volunteers will help with gardening and other maintenance works on the grounds of the community and they will help in the kitchen.
- At the end of the project the volunteers will help with the set-up and break-down of the festival and the organization of a fashion show to present the second hand clothes that are for sale. The income from this sale is fully used to support a chosen special project.
- The working area of ‘State Forestry Noard-Fryslân’ offers a varied landscape with a rough swamp nature. Working towards a sustainable living environment for man, plant and animal is central to their mission.
- The project volunteers will work in the area surrounding Twijzel, a small village in Fryslân, known for its cultural-historic and blooming blue-grass landscapes and swamp forests.
- The participants will play an important role in the preservation of the flora and fauna of the area. Together with the state forest rangers the volunteers will do various activities such as cutting, dredging and maintaining the paths.
- Because of the unique status of the area this is work that cannot be carried out by machines. So the volunteers will play a vital role in the nature preservation.
- The rangers are very enthusiastic and will tell you all about the special species that live in this area. During the week they will organise excursions and volunteers will work together with local volunteers.
- The organic care farm Zonnehoeve is located near Zeewolde, a small town in the province of Flevoland.
- The volunteers will work on this farm and in the natural reserve areas around the farm. They will carry out farm tasks, such as working the land, preparing a piece of land for a new purpose, cutting trees and plants, taking part in harvest activities, repairing fences and guarding cattle.
- In farming, weather conditions determine to some extent what is urgent. What will be done during the project period will therefore depend on what the farm management considers necessary at the time.
- This is a new project: things may turn out different from what SIW as well as the farm management and the volunteers may expect initially. Therefore, volunteers need a flexible attitude. At the same time, Zonnehoeve is a unique experience and should not be missed!
Theme 2019: 'Connect with the local community!'
Just as in previous years the participants will carry out activities during the project focusing on a specific theme. In 2019 the theme is: ‘Connect with the local community!’. This theme is inspired on the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 194 member states expressed their dedication to work on a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) for 2030. These include no poverty, zero hunger, gender equality and climate action.
During the 2019 international volunteering projects, SIW wants to encourage a discussion between the participants and with the local community. Participants are invited to find a creative way, such as a play/performance, song, poetry or art out of recycling materials, to promote the targets that are part of the chosen SDG. They will interact with the local community on this SDG by inviting them to participate in their activity or to look at their creative product.
How to apply for the Dutch volunteer projects?
Apply as a participant
Would you like to join an international group of volunteers for two weeks, do valuable work and get to know the Netherlands? Apply for the Dutch volunteer projects as a participant. SIW organises the Dutch volunteer projects every summer. Do you live in the Netherlands? Then you can apply by sending us an email via email@example.com. If you do not live in the Netherlands, you can apply for SIW projects through our partner organisations. Please see the website of the Alliance for an overview of the partner organisations .
Join as project leader
Do you live in the Netherlands and would you like to challenge yourself as a project leader in the Dutch volunteer projects? That’s possible. As a project leader, together with a co-leader, you are responsible for a project, for the duration of 2-weeks. As part of your responsibilities you have to motivate the international volunteers, be the budget guardian, organise activities and mentor the group. Naturally, during the work activities you join the group. Is this music to your ears? Then apply using the application form below.
What do we expect from you?
• You are 18 years old or older
• You are enthusiastic and motivated
• You are autonomous but also work well in a group
• You are socially strong
• You have a feeling for leading and guiding groups
• You have an academic level
• Bonus: it would be nice if you understand a few words Dutch
Experiences of project leaders
"The first day I was nervous, but that was not needed. My group of volunteers was great!"
How does it work?
The Dutch volunteer projects take place in July, August or September and last for two weeks.
You can apply for the Dutch volunteer projects by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As project leader you will have the opportunity to develop and improve your skills in organisation and leadership. This will not only help with your personal development but also with your professional skills, which you can add to your cv. SIW makes sure you will be well-prepared for the project. Prior to the project you will participate on an extended training for project leaders. Also during the project there is a SIW mentor present, who you can talk to regarding questions or uncertainties. All your costs during the project are reimbursed, including travelling costs. Being a project leader will not cost you anything.Through the application form on the left bottom you can sign up to the project leader role. After an introductory meeting you find out which project you will supervise.
SIW organises an intensive training weekend for the project leaders. During the weekend you will learn all about project management and follow workshops given by SIW trainers. In the workshops you will dive into certain subjects, like: group dynamics, intercultural exchange, leadership and conflict management. But also: How to prepare food for a big group? How to manage the project budget? In addition, you will also have plenty of time to meet the other supervisors and volunteer workers from SIW.Participation in the training weekend is for free.
In the summer months you will start your adventure as a participant or leader in one of the Dutch volunteer projects. During the project you will make international friends, you get to know yourself better, have unforgettable experiences and get to know The Netherlands from a different point of view.
The activities last for 6 hours per day, 5 days a week. In the evenings and weekends you are free and able to participate in the leisure-time activities, workshops or do something on your own.
In the last day of the project you are required to complete the evaluation form for participants or leaders. The project leader will also follow an evaluation meeting with the Dutch Projects team from SIW.