Dutch Locals join Forces and get Involved

The Dutch locals are one of the most numerous in AEGEE. While some countries only have one local, the Netherlands can be proud of a whole eleven. The time has come for them to unite and join the Dutch Youth Council (NJR), where nine out of eleven AEGEE locals in the Netherlands are represented.  This does sound very nice and impressive, but what does it actually mean?

Wieke van der Kroef, Speaker of the Network Commission Agora-Enschede – Agora-Budapest, kindly explains the situation. After all, she was the one who initiated the idea and took the first step to making it a reality.

Wieke: “Becoming a member means a few things. First of all, we will be able to vote on their assemblies, so all our members will be represented in their policy now. This means the following things:

1. We are closely connected to other youth associations who are members, and that makes it easier to start collaborations;

2. Being a member of the official Youth Council means that we have an official way to get to talk to (national) politicians and advise on policies;

3. The NJR has a good cooperation and connections to funding organisations, like the company distributing the Youth in Action funds in the Netherlands;

4. The NJR is not just for students though, it’s also for high school students, so it can give us opportunities to already start our PR before people go to university;

5. As the NJR is also a member of the European Youth Forum (YFJ), AEGEE now has an extra influence on their work apart from the vote that AEGEE-Europe has.”

But how were all off these opportunities opened? It was a step-by-step process. The Dutch Youth Council first rejected AEGEE for a lack of national level. Good thing that this did not stop Wieke. After a close look through their statutes, she was able to prove that AEGEE is legible for a membership just like any other organisation. The next step was to find a representative who would present AEGEE to the board of the NJR and convince them just how successful our cooperation can be. This is where Paul Smits, one of Wieke’s subcommies, comes in. He was the one who did the trip to their general assembly.

Paul: “The General Assembly of the NJR was a fantastic experience. All these young motivated people who are actively participating in the society in different ways, brought together in one umbrella organisation, the NJR. It was an energetic meeting with a good meal before and a social drink afterwards, during which I spoke with several people who already inspired me.”

It was here that Paul represented and defended AEGEE for its right to become an official member of the NJR. After a small battle, he succeeded.

Paul: “Representing the participating Dutch locals is wonderful. I am now in close contact with the NJR board and all the other member organisations which are potential partners for my locals.”

Now, is the time for the Dutch locals to get more active than ever. With all these new opportunities and possibilities at hand it would be a shame to let them go to waste. So get to it!

Written by Olga Volovyk, AEGEE-Kyiv