Centre for Economic Transformation| CET

Catching up: The development of legal frameworks for social entrepreneurship in The Netherlands


The development of legal frameworks for social enterprises in the Netherlands is described and analysed in this paper, focusing on 2015-2021. The Netherlands are the largest EU member state in population size without a specific legal form or status for social enterprises. A form of legal recognition is in development, but far from finished.

Six lessons can be learned from the process:

1) Even in a thriving ecosystem based on ‘bottom up’ development, there is need for a legal framework.

2) Local government initiatives spur national government into action.

3) International examples prove inspirational, but the legal framework needs to fit the local context.

4) Finding balance between rule-based and principle-based elements is difficult.

5) Clarifying advantages for social entrepreneurs proves challenging.

6) Tenacious pioneers are crucial to keep the process going. Pressure on the national government to provide a legal framework that fits the Dutch cultural, political and entrepreneurial landscape remains.

Reference Hogenstijn, M. (2021). Catching up: The development of legal frameworks for social entrepreneurship in The Netherlands. Paper presented at The Social and Solidarity Economy: From the Margins to the Mainstream. https://cdn-assets.inwink.com/e34b7337-d151-4294-a09a-36038b91b434/c1ba7fde-b299-48b0-8f60-2403ba3af25b?sv=2018-03-28&sr=b&sig=O3tEP%2B%2BDGersgaeyTdVqBkgMsFQFrSnQhrPCmMQzgpE%3D&se=9999-12-31T23%3A59%3A59Z&sp=r&rscd=inline%3B%20filename%3D%22Catching-up-the-development-of-legal-frameworks-for-social-entrepreneurship-in-The-Netherlands.pdf%22