Fewer young volunteers in 2019

© Hollandse Hoogte / Flip Franssen
In 2019, fewer young people in the Netherlands aged 12 to 24 years were volunteering compared to previous years. While girls are more likely to volunteer in the field of care, boys prefer activities in a sports association. The most important reason for young people to volunteer is that they enjoy it. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this in the latest edition of the National Youth Monitor, based on new figures taken from a survey on social cohesion and well-being.
Last year, 45 percent of young people aged 12 to 24 years said they had participated in volunteer activities for an organisation or club at least once over the past twelve months. In 2017, this share stood at 49 percent. Volunteering among people aged 25 and over did not show any changes over this period.
Vrijwilliger2019 (% )2018 (% )2017 (% )
15 to 24 yrs454849
25 yrs and over474748

1 in 5 young volunteers active for sports clubs

Young people are most likely to volunteer for sports associations (20 percent), followed by schools (11 percent) and youth organisations (9 percent). This is followed by care and nursing, hobby and social associations, churches and religious organisations (around 5 percent each). A small share of young people are active as volunteers for cultural associations, neighbourhood and local community organisations or trade unions.
Boys (22 percent) are more likely to volunteer for a sports association than girls (18 percent). Seven percent of the girls volunteered in care services against 3 percent of the boys. The differences between boys and girls were similar in 2017. Furthermore, in 2017 more girls than boys volunteered for a youth organisation, a church or a religious organisation.

Types of volunteer work, 2019
VrijwilligerBoys (% of 15 to 24-year-olds)Girls (% of 15 to 24-year-olds)
Social assistance11

Motives for volunteer work

Most young people indicate they volunteer because they enjoy it (56 percent) or because they want to do something for someone else (43 percent). Around one-third of the 15 to 24-year-old volunteers cite constructive use of free time, the chance to learn new things or the social interaction as their main motivation. Only 1 in 5 young volunteers find it their duty to do volunteer work. A minor share (12 percent) see volunteer work as a potential springboard towards paid employment.
In 2017, a larger share of young people volunteered because they enjoyed it (65 percent) compared to 2019. That year, the share who indicated their motivation was social interaction was smaller (23 percent).

Young volunteers' motives
Vrijwilliger2019 (% 15 to 24-year-olds)2017 (% 15 to 24-year-olds)
Enjoy themselves5665
To help out others4346
Constructive use of free time3131
Social interaction3123
Learn new things3133
Sense of duty2224
Career prospects1212
Other motives1210