Urban Governance and Social Innovation

Developing dialogue bottom-up: social enterprises and local government in the Netherlands


This paper focuses on the specifics of the relationships between social entrepreneurs and local civil servants and politicians in The Netherlands. Policy frameworks for social enterprises (SE) are relatively underdeveloped here, as the central government took little initiative in policy development, and a legal definition for SE is lacking. This poses problems, but it also opens up possibilities to develop dialogue between local government and social entrepreneurs “bottom-up”.Both parties’ views of each other are explored, a practical tool to open dialogue is introduced and eight examples of collaboration are discussed.

Through the collected experiences at local and regional levels, policy makers at the national level now also increasingly recognize the importance of SEs in the Dutch economy, and realize that the lack of national policy and legal frameworks has proven limiting and increased vulnerability of the sector.

For the coming years, there are signs that policy support for SEs will become more structured and national policy action is likely.

Reference Hogenstijn, M. (2019). Developing dialogue bottom-up: social enterprises and local government in the Netherlands. In EMES Selected Conference Papers 2019 (pp. 1-18). Article ESCP-7EMES-07 (EMES Selected Conference Papers). EMES Network. https://emes.net/publications/conference-papers/7th-emes-conference-selected-papers/developing-dialogue-bottom-up-social-enterprises-and-local-government-in-the-netherlands/
Published by  CAREM 1 June 2019