Netherlands | Financial self-reliance

Standing on your own feet financially in just six months

1 June 2021 15:35

If the court says that you’re not allowed to make financial decisions anymore, you are put under the authority of a debt administrator. In 2020, more than 240,000 people in the Netherlands were under the authority of ‘partial material guardianship’, frequently due to problematic debts. The Plinkr Hub helps those who are ready to begin regaining their independence step-by-step.

Two people looking at the Plinkr dashboard


start collaboration Rabo Foundation and Plinkr


participants are already well on their way to independence

The challenge

There are now six times as many people under the authority of a debt administrator in the Netherlands than there were a decade ago. One main cause is the difficulty of applying for a municipal debt relief program. With alternatives lacking, partial material guardianship is increasingly used as a last resort. But debt administrators don’t have the resources to prepare people for taking back control over their money issues. As a result, they often remain under guardianship for longer than necessary instead of regaining their independence.

“Give administrators a reliable route to work towards getting people out of the system.”

Plinkr: smart, digital solutions for financial assistance

The social enterprise Plinkr has developed a mentoring process for people under guardianship who are ready for more independence. In the process, they learn how to get back up on their feet financially in just six months. An online environment, the Hub, guides their development. The Hub connects all of the parties involved, such as the municipality, administrators and coaches. A coach supervises the participant personally and via the Hub. From drawing up budgets and applying for benefits, to calling on assistance and learning to deal with financial stimuli. Over the course of the process, the participant also builds a social safety net within the municipality.

The Plinkr Hub’s impact in 2020

Plinkr started working with debt administrators in five municipalities in October 2020, and the first 55 participants are already well on their way to independence. In the meantime, the organization has learned some valuable lessons. For example, in some municipalities it took longer than anticipated to start up the dialogue with administrators. They had to build mutual trust first. With that insight, Plinkr changed its approach. Now the enterprise organizes large kick-off events with the municipality and all the active administrators, in order to clarify their shared goal: to provide the help their residents need. The number of candidates has since grown dramatically.

Plinkr and Rabo Foundation

We supported Plinkr with a donation in 2019 and co-funding in 2020. The money was used for the technical development of the Hub, the details of the various processes, and starting up the partnerships with the municipalities.

Plinkr Hub in 2021

Plinkr aims to have 200-300 people begin the process in 2021. In addition to working with the current municipalities, Plinkr is now negotiating with more than 30 others to roll out the Hub nationally. This year, the organization aims to start working with 10 new municipalities.

Explore our impact report 'Financial Self-reliance' to find out more about our results in 2020 and read more stories that showcases how we contribute to an inclusive society in the Netherlands.