Debt and poverty (NWA)

The economy has improved, but debt and poverty problems in the Netherlands are growing. How can we combat this poverty, reduce the number of people with problematic debts, and help people with debts more effectively? 

  • Aim and objectives

    In the coalition agreement, the Dutch cabinet stated its intention to combat poverty and debt. Concrete improvements are to be realised within several years. Research is necessary to realise breakthroughs. The research is meant to help municipalities answer their knowledge questions within this area. New work methods must be developed to tackle poverty and debt effectively. Knowledge transfer, knowledge utilisation and the application of the results throughout the entire duration of the projects are key aspects of this NWA programme. Within this call for proposals, research will be funded under three themes:
    •    Theme 1: Living in poverty and social exclusion
    •    Theme 2: Hidden poverty in various groups
    •    Theme 3: Evaluation and effectiveness research into integrated and convergent interventions

  • Budget and duration

    The Dutch Research Agenda (NWA) made 3 million euros available to investigate these questions in knowledge-chain-wide, interdisciplinary consortia. Municipalities, knowledge institutions and other interested parties participate. 

  • Projects

    Out of debt sooner. What works?

    Dr T.E. (Tamara) Madern (project leader) – Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Society and Law

    Consortium partners: Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, Statistics Netherlands, Verwey-Jonker Institute, Pharos, Valente, Save the Children, Bureau Bartels, municipalities of Amsterdam, Arnhem, Deventer, Gouda, Haarlem and Utrecht

    Debt has a huge impact on people and on society. In recent years, municipalities have invested a lot of money in reaching residents with debts sooner and supporting them in getting out of debt.

    Which interventions for people with payment arrears are effective and which are not? This project will investigate a number of existing interventions to examine what does and does not work. Current interventions for municipalities will ultimately be enriched with scientific knowledge.

    Locating the hidden poor; towards more effective ways of supporting low-income households

    Dr R.C. (Roeland) van Geuns (project leader) – Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Domain Society and Law, Amsterdam Knowledge Centre for Societal Intervention (AKMI)

    Consortium partners: Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Nibud, Over Rood, municipalities of Almere, Amersfoort, Amsterdam, Hoeksche Waard, Kapelle, Krimpenerwaard, Lelystad, Maassluis, Nijmegen, Schiedam and Vlaardingen

    Some Dutch people with low incomes do not make use of support from the municipality or central government even though they are entitled to it.

    Who are these “hidden poor” and why does this group of residents not claim support? This project aims to find an answer to this question and will subsequently develop approaches that can help municipalities and other relevant actors to reduce poverty.


Anne Ballering

Anne Ballering

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