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Vereniging Basisinkomen

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The Vereniging Basisinkomen (association basic income), founded in 1991, is a Dutch association that promotes the introduction of a basic income. Both activists and scientists are members of the organization, as are politicians of various backgrounds. The association publishes the Nieuwsbrief Basisinkomen (basic income newsletter) several times a year, and is a member organization of the Basic Income Earth Network.

Support for a basic income in The Nederlands

The Netherlands are one of those countries that actually have a basic income grant - but only for the elderly, in the form of a state pension. Another arrangement resembling a basic income is the studiefinanciering, a grant for students, except that this is not free of obligation. Artists and (top-)sportspersons can qualify for some kind of basic income as well. Since 1941, parents have received a quarterly child benefit for their children (although far from covering all costs). Finally, a tiny basic income is received by non-earning partners by means of a negative income tax.

Although advocates for a basic income for all citizens can be found in all political movements in The Netherlands, full support has always come only from left and green political parties, like Recht en Vrijheid (later continued as Grondvest), the Politieke Partij Radicalen[1] and the Natuurwetpartij[2]. The idea of a basic income was for some time a popular topic to GroenLinks as well[3][4], which party included a proposal for a partial basic income in their election programme of 1998-2002.[5] By 2008, only De Groenen promoted a basic income.[6]

Werkplaats Basisinkomen

In 1985, the Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid (scientific council for goverment policy) advised the introduction of a partial basic income in The Netherlands. [7] This advice was not followed by the government. At the initiative of the food trade union Voedingsbond FNV, in response a number of political parties, trade unions and social organizations founded the Werkplaats Basisinkomen (basic income workplace) in 1987.[8]

Since the Werkplaats did not allow for personal membership, a few years later it was decided to replace it with an association, the Vereniging Vriendinnen en Vrienden van een Basisinkomen (association friends of a basic income), usually abbreviated to Vereniging Basisinkomen.[9]


The Vereniging Basisinkomen publishes their journal Nieuwsbrief Basisinkomen (basic income newsletter) several times a year, with news, scientific contributions, opinions and interviews. In addition to basic income in The Netherlands, the journal regularly pays attention to developments abroad and to related topics. The association also holds study meetings on a regular basis, where politicians, trade union leaders and scientists present their views.

In 1996, the association organized a two-day international congress on basic income in Noordwijk.[10] With the support of the University of Amsterdam, in 1998 the Vereniging Basisinkomen organized the 7th Biannual International Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network in Amsterdam.[11]

In January 2007 the association held a jubileum conference in Utrecht with the motto: Basisinkomen: een houdbaar ideaal (basic income: a tenable ideal).[12][13]

Proposals for a basic income

In their brochure of 2004, the Vereniging Basisinkomen points out that for most people, the introduction of a basic income would come down to a redefinition of (part of) their existing wage or social benefit, albeit that some levelling will take place.[14] However, in the starting situation a number of people have no or only a small income of their own. The association stresses that the funds needed for those citizens that are presently short of income, would require measures not beyond the size of recent socio-economic policies. The association further argues that, in a society where work and income are less tightly connected, a shift towards alternative taxes, such as a value-added levy, might be in order.[14] The Vereniging Basisinkomen lists various ways to arrive at a basic income in The Netherlands:[14]

  • the Alaska strategy, distributing revenues from natural resources and government properties as a citizen's dividend;
  • a gradual reduction of the required age for state pension;
  • the anti-repression strategy, where conditions for social security payments are removed step by step;
  • expanding the negative income tax to include all citizens.

The association furthermore advocates for small-scale experiments with a basic income.[14]


In addition to the Natuurwetpartij[2] (since abolished) and De Groenen, the Belgian political party Vivant has also recognized the efforts of the association.[15]

External links


  1. Van Ojik B (1985), "Basisinkomen. Over arbeidsethos, inkomen en participatie", PPR Schrift nr. 13, PPR-Studiestichting ("Basic income. On work ethics, income and participation")
  2. 2.0 2.1 Natuurwetpartij (1998), "Natuurwetpartij gedachtengoed en programma", 20081210 ("Natuurwetpartij views and programme")
  3. Den Broeder G, De Roo A (1991), "Basisinkomen - omdat het kan", GroenLinks ("Basic income - because we can")
  4. GroenLinks (1992), "Tijd voor zelfstandigheid" ("Time for independence")
  5. GroenLinks, "Verkiezingsprogramma 1998-2002" ("Election programme 1998-2002")
  6. (2008) "Het basisinkomen vergroot persoonlijke vrijheid en dus het geluk" (interview with Alexander de Roo and Paul Freriks), Nieuwsbrief Basisinkomen, 51 Oct ("Basic income increases personal freedom and therefore happiness"); see also the website of De Groenen, 20081210
  7. Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid (1985), "Waarborgen voor Zekerheid", Staatsuitgeverij, The Hague (Scientific Council for Government Policy, "Guarantees for Security")
  8. Toxopeus J (1989), "Invoering basisinkomen is geen dwaasheid", Trouw, Jan 6 ("Introduction basic income is not foolishness")
  9. Van Parijs P (1994), "Allocation universelle et plien emploi: l'ineluctable alliance", Feb 1, 20081210 ("Universal allocation and full employment: the ineluctable alliance")
  10. BIEN (1996), "Newsletter of the Basic Income European Network", nr. 24
  11. Van der Veen RJ, Groot L (eds.) (2000), "Basic Income on the Agenda. Policy Objectives and Political Feasibility", Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press; see also BIEN's website, 20081210
  12. Wiersma R (2007), "Met een basisinkomen is werken een feest", Konfrontatie Digitaal, May 19, 20081210 ("With a basic income working is a feast")
  13. Vereniging Basisinkomen (2007), "Terugblik op 15 jaar Vereniging Basisinkomen", Nieuwsbrief Basisinkomen, 48 Apr 27p (special issue) ("Looking back on 15 years Vereniging Basisinkomen"); see also Newsflash 45 of the Basic Income Earth Network, May 2007, 20081210
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Vereniging Basisinkomen (2004), "Basisinkomen - goed voor de mèns", 20081210 ("Basic income: good for humanity")
  15. Website Vivant (2007), nomination of former VBI-president Saar Boerlage for the Open Parachute award, 20081210; Vivant erkent hiermee ook de inspanningen en openheid van de Vereniging Basisinkomen, in het streven naar een groter draagvlak voor de invoering van het Basisinkomen in Nederland. (With this nomination, Vivant also recognizes the efforts and openness of the Vereniging Basisinkomen in the strive for larger support for the introduction of a basic income.)