BSc/MSc Thesis vacancy – Volunteers in Gelderland: does Corona provide new dimensions to an old fashion?

The Corona crisis brings about many social initiatives, lots of them along the lines of ‘helping out in the neighborhood’. This might appear innovative, but volunteer organizations are central to social life in Dutch countryside already for decades. From sports clubs to village centers (Dorpshuizen) and local public transport (buurtbus), many small-town-services are supported by volunteers. Yet, volunteer organizations in small villages heavily struggle with a lack of volunteers and an increasing workload, as their (local) governments ‘decentralized’ many tasks over time. This Science Shop research project is commissioned by ‘Vereniging DKK Gelderland’ and looks into the dynamics of local volunteer organizations in the context of austerity and decentralization. How do volunteers organize themselves? What can organizations do to attract new and young volunteers? What critical issues with regard to livability and social services are signaled by volunteers?

We are looking for students that are interested to study volunteer supported (social) services in Dutch countryside (Gelderland) through a literature review and (Skype) interviews, and/or to perform an online (inter)national QuickScan of inspiring examples of volunteer work. Should we learn from festivals (f.ex. Zwarte Cross) about the commitment of young adults to volunteer work? Or is activism and financial support the answer to overstressed volunteer services? In addition, we are keen to understand how an abundance of temporary Corona-initiatives relate to existing issues with permanent/long-term volunteer efforts.

The project runs from May to November, you can start any time from now. Research can be adapted to the Corona guidelines. Both suitable for bachelor and master students. Please contact for more information. See also: