Volunteer abroad, Gap year in Amsterdam


Here are a few reasons why volunteering might be a great option for you. Volunteering is always a very rewarding experience - one that allows you to feel good about yourself while constantly learning new skills and improving existing ones. It's also a great way to brush up and learn the local language Volunteering gives you an excellent opportunity to meet new people and is an invaluable way to open up your mind to new cultures and people.

In Amsterdam, Vrijwilligerscentrale Amsterdam (VCA) is the city's main centre for volunteer work, providing administration, advice, and support for volunteers and voluntary organisations. They have two offices: one in the Centre and one in Nieuw West (New West). Both locations offer a vrijwilligersbank (vacancy bank), handle placements, and offer advice and information on regulations and rights. For example, volunteers are allowed up to €20 a week in compensation, €735 per year.

The European Voluntary Service (EVS)

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) is a European Union programme, set up by the European Commission in early 1996. It offers young people (between 18 and 25) the opportunity to work as a volunteer for six to twelve months in a non-profit project abroad. Three partners are the key partners of an EVS project: the volunteer, the sending organisation and the host organisation.
The European Commission take in charge the travel costs for the young, the insurance (health, accident, public liability) and provides a monthly allowance from 140 to 220 euros.

How to proceed: Find a sending organisation that will assist you individually along the procedure (you can find contacts through you National Agency, your National Coordinator or international volunteer organisations). Start contacting potential host organisations through your sending organisation. Keep your fingers crossed and persevere in your search as the difficulty is not to find a suitable project, but to find a project ready to host you within the time limit you have planned.

You can have a look at the European database on accredited host organisations and the Youth organisations.

More information also on the website http://www.britishcouncil.org

Volunteering in the Netherlands

Apart from volunteer (vrijwilliger) opportunities available at charity organizations, religious institutions, social institutions and non-profit organizations are constantly on the look-out for volunteers. Below is a list of some websites that post English openings for both paid and unpaid jobs.

  • http://www.nowhere.nl/main/index.php : an cultural organisation for youth in Amsterdam
  • www.foei.org : Friends of the earth is an organization that focuses on issues relating to the nature of the Netherlands
  • www.amnesty.nl : Amnesty International whose main focus is on human rights
  • vluchtelingenwerk.nl : This focuses on rehabilitation of refugees in the Netherlands
  • Greenpeace Nederland is the Dutch wing of Greenpeace; its main focus is on environmental issues
  • www.access-nl.org : Access is a non-profit organisation established to bridge the gap between the international community and English-speaking services available in the Netherlands. They supply free information from an extensive database, offer publications, courses, events, a professional counselling referral service and run a free helpline.
  • http://www.artsenzondergrenzen.nl/ : Medecins sans Frontieres Netherlands is the Dutch wing of the humanitarian organisation for medical aid
  • http://www.worldvision.nl/ : World Vision Netherlands is a Christain relief and development organisation
  • http://www.wnf.nl : WWF Netherlands is devoted to halting the natural destruction of the world
  • http://www.markt.nl/dyp/147,12,0.html : Lists a number of volunteer opportunities from various orgnisations in the Netherlands
  • World Wide Voluntering
    (http://www.worldwidevolunteering.org.uk) is a search database with nearly 1000 voluntary organisations, in 214 countries worldwide.


  1. http://www.iamsterdam.com/
  2. http://www.4icj.com/reviews/8217.htm


A listing of some of the key NGOs in the Netherlands along with a detailed overview of their focus and objectives can be found at


No matter where you go and for how long, it is prudent to subscribe to a travel insurance. This is especially even more important for 'exotic' countries where the chances of falling sick are relatively higher. Below are some companies that offer travel insurances. You can browse the internet for more options.

Make sure also that you have a current passport and valid visa as necessary: http://www.diplomatie.be

Update 29/02/2008


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