Volunteer work is as old as mankind itself. The term ‘noaberschap’ (neighbourliness) in Drenthe dialect is an unparalleled form of volunteer work. According to Jeanine de Kleine, volunteer work as we know it today dates back to the 19th Century. In those days it was mainly ladies from the upper-middle class who volunteered for the less fortunate people in society. Also the representatives of various religious movements have devoted themselves to things like education and caring for sick persons, on top of their main objective of spreading the gospel. Much of volunteer work in these sectors would later become paid jobs. In recent years, the Netherlands has had a stable number of around four million volunteers.

What is a volunteer?
Not all organisations have a similar interpretation of …

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