Netherlands | Financial self-reliance

Young people get a grip on their money

1 June 2021 9:00

More and more young people in the Netherlands are burdened by financial problems and debt. And due to the coronavirus pandemic, their numbers will probably increase over the next few years. With the ‘Get a Grip’ program, voluntary organization Humanitas aims to reach young people with money problems as early as possible. Volunteers will then help them get their finances in order.

Two people looking at their financial administration


start project Get a Grip


young people reached


places young people can get help


young people heard of Get a Grip

The challenge

Young people often have their first financial expenses around the age of 16, and some of them can handle that responsibility better than others. Around 40 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 25 owe at least one debt. For 15 percent of them, the debt is even considered high risk. The number of young people applying for debt relief has risen dramatically over the past few years. Money problems can hold young people back at the start of their independent lives. They suffer from stress and sleepless nights, poor performance in school and increasing social isolation. The coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated these problems: around 30 percent of young people have lost income because of them.

“Around 40 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 25 owe at least one debt.”

Humanitas: volunteers teach young people financial skills

Few volunteer organizations in the Netherlands focus on financial guidance for young people. That’s why Humanitas has developed ‘Get a Grip’: a unique method and training course to reach and mentor young people aged 16 to 26 with looming or urgent financial problems. Humanitas uses pre-tested social media campaigns to reach young people before their debts become problematic. The organization aims to address the shame they feel about their financial problems so that they will look for help sooner. Well-trained Humanitas volunteers then support the young people in getting their financial administration in order, and keeping it that way. They help with things like writing a list of all their subscriptions and contracts with companies or other organizations. And if their money issues threaten to get out of hand, then the volunteer works with the young person to find a solution. Humanitas hopes to roll out this approach nationwide in the near future.

Get a Grip’s impact in 2020

In 2020, Humanitas reached a total of 182 young people, via 35 local Humanitas departments, through the Get a Grip program:

    55 through debt prevention 65 through debt counselling 7 through follow-up care for debts 35 through early detection of debt problems 20 via other channels, such as the online app/tool

The awareness campaign enabled Humanitas to reach another 316,709 young people.
The coronavirus pandemic affected Get a Grip’s results in 2020, however. For example, some departments began offering the program later than others. Reaching young people also proved to be more difficult than expected.

Humanitas and Rabo Foundation

Humanitas’ Get a Grip program is a close fit with our strategy in the area of Financial Self-reliance. For example, in its social media campaign Humanitas focuses on breaking down taboos on seeking help among young people. We supported Humanitas Association with a donation of 180,000 euros. That allowed the organization to implement the Get a Grip programme in fourteen extra departments throughout the country in 2020. Humanitas also joined forces with local Rabobank locations in a variety of areas. These banks referred young people with financial problems to Humanitas, publicized the project or participated in workshops.

Get a Grip in 2021

The goal for 2021 is for twenty new Humanitas departments in the Netherlands to join the Get a Grip program. Humanitas will also launch another large-scale social media campaign, and it is developing an online self-help package that young people can use to get their finances in order on their own.

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.