Who should be helping the less fortunate? A Dutch debate

Charity donations Credit: Julia M Cameron, Pexels

The debts of 1,000 low-income Dutch households are being paid off by one of the country´s wealthiest families.

The Van der Vorm family, which according to Quote is worth €9 billion, inherited its wealth from the Holland American Line cruise empire and the shipping industry. Through a network of charitable organisations, the Van der Vorms contribute more than €8 million to paying off the debts of families in need.

One of the charities, the Fonds de Loods, assists the Van der Vorms to support families in Rotterdam without requiring repayment from the beneficiaries. The charities aid Dutch families with at least one child whose financial situation has been partly caused by life-changing events including death or illness, which includes approximately 15,000 families in Rotterdam.

“We feel a responsibility to think together with society about debt problems and solutions,” said Bas Woudstra, director of Nieuw Vaarwater, another charity organisation working with the Van der Vorm family. “Our aim is to strengthen society. We hope it will help people to get their lives back on track. We can talk forever about why people are in debt, but the fact is that the children are suffering,” Bas Woudstra told the press.

However, some Dutch authorities doubt the effectiveness of this scheme and believe that the central government should make changes instead. Godfried Engbersen, professor of sociology at Erasmus University, commented to the press: “For some, this is a lottery ticket, while others are left sitting on their debts. We have to be careful that we do not become increasingly dependent on private initiatives.”

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Written by

Anna Akopyan

Originally from Moscow, with Russian and Armenian origins, Anna has lived in Costa Blanca for over ten years. She is passionate about singing, acting and traveling.