As Stichting Nederlanders Buiten Nederland (Foundation for the Dutch Outside the Netherlands) we receive many questions about our motives, working method, composition of the board and our views. We try to provide the best possible answers to all the frequently asked questions (FAQ) about SNBN. If your question is not listed, please contact us.
Why is the SNBN needed and what makes SNBN so unique?
The SNBN stems from a long struggle for the interests of Dutch people who lived abroad. The experience of recent years has taught us that governments can suddenly take positions that are completely at odds with the previous government. The existence of an organization that acts partly as a watchdog, partly as a consultative partner and partly as a lobbyist towards the government is therefore necessary.
The unique thing about SNBN is the composition of the board and the way it operates. The board of SNBN consists of eleven unpaid people, supported by several volunteers. Nine of the eleven board members are members of a political party, namely VVD, CDA, D66, GroenLinks, SP, PvdA, ChristenUnie, 50PLUS and FvD.
The SNBN itself is completely politically neutral, but thanks to this construction it has quick access to the right political channels that are needed for effective advocacy. In the meantime, all board members who are members of a political party have been introduced to the parliamentary group of “their” party. However, political parties have no control over the foundation.
Since when does the idea exist to set up this foundation?
The idea for a Dutch interest organization dates from 2014. The political manifest ‘Kapitale Connecties’ came out, partly on the basis of the experiences of comparable interest organizations in other Western European countries.
Step by step – often interrupted to fight new measures against the Dutch outside the Netherlands – this foundation is the result.
What are your thoughts and focus?
Foundation for the Dutch Outside the Netherlands will act in various capacities: among others as a watchdog, as a lobbyist, as a consultative partner, as an investigator and as a source of information. Althouagh different concrete plans are being made per function (we will tell more about this in newsletters), we are open to suggestions.
All activities of SNBN have of course the aim of putting Dutch people outside the Netherlands on the map as much as possible and keeping them there, and to represent their interests in the broadest possible sense.
Who will you work with?
Foundation for the Dutch Outside the Netherlands is open to cooperation with everyone and all organizations that are relevant in one way or another to achieving the ultimate goal: to best represent the interests of Dutch people outside the Netherlands.
What can you do for Dutch associations?
SNBN can help Dutch associations and clubs in various ways, including by facilitating appropriate contacts with politicians, communicating complaints, ideas and concerns, and bringing individual members of Dutch associations into contact with those persons or organizations that (also) can help.
Our Dutch association has not been approached. Why not?
Based on the internet, we have made a list of all Dutch associations and clubs worldwide that is as complete as possible; this remains human work and we may have accidentally skipped or forgotten one in the process. Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to add you!
Why A foundation and not an association? You cannot become a member of a foundation.
It is a general societal fact that “we” no longer quickly become a member of an association today.
That does not mean that involvement no longer exists – but the Involvement is different, such as volunteering, signing petitions and making donations. A foundation fits better.
Why do you represent the Dutch outside The Netherlands if you have no members?
In addition to the SNBN, there are more organizations active that somehow work for Dutch passport holders who live abroad; the vast majority of these are not associations.
It is the combination of cooperation and SNBN’s own unique structure that ensures that SNBN can promote the interests of Dutch people outside the Netherlands in its own way.
Why is the board so large and why are some parties not represented on the board?
The articles of association do not provide for a maximum number of board members, but for a minimum (3). In order to be as effective as possible, an attempt was made to get the best possible composition in the administration based on the political landscape in The Hague.
It goes without saying that this can therefore change in the future.
Unlike all other political parties, the PVV has no members, so it is impossible to find members abroad.
How are you funded?
A foundation has no members, so no paying members. Moreover, the organization consists entirely of volunteers: nobody personally benefits financially.
This means that we will start fundraising in order to be able to finance activities; like companies, the government and individuals.
Interested parties who would like to cooperate on fundraising or other activities of the SNBN, are requested to contact us.
Can you still use practical support?
Certainly! Any help, in whatever form, is very welcome. It can be fundraising support, a simple suggestion to approach this or that person or organisation, to become a regional focal point, to write a piece for the website, and so on.
The SNBN is open to any kind of support. Please contact
Do you come to associations to give presentations and start conversations?
Without regular contact with Dutch people outside the Netherlands, SNBN cannot perform its work properly.
The board members will therefore develop activities in various ways to get in touch with Dutch people outside the Netherlands, for example by giving presentations where possible and organizing home dinners.
In addition, SNBN already works with many volunteers and wants to set up a system of regional representatives (focal points).
All these elements together will form the substantive “back bone” of the SNBN.
Cooperation with Stichting Goed
Both Stichting GOED Grenzeloos Onder Een Dak (www.stichtinggoed.nl) and SNBN, the Foundation for the Dutch Abroad (Stichting Nederlanders buiten Nederland, www.snbn.nl) are interest groups for Dutch citizens abroad. At the end of 2018, the founders of both organizations discussed merging and possibilities for cooperation.
Given the differences in working methods, board structure and political involvement, a merger seems out of reach at this stage. However, there is a common interest in making the voice heard of more than one million Dutch citizens abroad. With this in mind the foundations cooperate where possible and meaningful.
Why do you want to influence Dutch laws when you live abroad?
The Dutch legislator continues to make laws that directly or indirectly affect Dutch nationals living outside the Netherlands – a good example is the law on opening up dual nationality to Dutch nationals in the UK, in the case of a ‘hard Brexit’.
Taking into account this impact, we stand firm that we must be continuously alert to both existing and future legislation and use our influence when it is in the interest of Dutch nationals living abroad. The same reasoning applies to voting from abroad: this process should be (better) facilitated so that we can successfully vote on laws that affect our lives abroad as well.