Dutch Days @ ISTR 2018: Pluralism in the polder

Wednesday and Thursday are the Dutch Days @ ISTR 2018. During these days, experts from the Dutch Academic community will be chairing six round tables that will address questions that are key to developing civil society and philanthropy. By taking the Netherlands as a point of reference, table chairs and invited (international) speakers will discuss the relevance of legal conditions, fiscal facilities, and collaboration structures as (pre)conditions for a thriving civil society. The second day will focus on the next generation of philanthropists, bequests as black box of the new golden age of philanthropy, and the Dutch tradition of do-it-yourself in development aid. The round tables will culminate in the Dutch plenary session on Thursday afternoon, where representatives of the Dutch Academic Hosting Committee will reflect on the relevance, advantages and shortcomings of the Dutch consensus based “Poldermodel”, which can been described as “a pragmatic recognition of pluriformity” or “cooperation despite differences” between different societal actors. Finally, Professor René Bekkers from the Center for Philanthropic Studies will give a public lecture as new professor of Philanthropic Studies at VU University Amsterdam. All events will take place at VU Amsterdam and are open to interested professionals from the Netherlands. Not able to participate but much interested? Join in through our livestream during the plenairy session and public lecture on Thursday July 12th from 16.00 – 18.30.


Program Wednesday July 11th 2018

9.00      Working Together on the Edge
Chair: Lonneke Roza (Rotterdam School of Management)

With representatives from the public, foundation and corporate sector, this round table will address the question of “What dynamics arises when CSOs, corporates and public organizations together engage in societal problem solving”. Foundations, government and market actors all work according to different principles regarding legitimacy, accountability and by different incentives. This causes intriguing challenges if two or more of these actors engage in societal problem solving. Participants will address the question from different angles and provide solutions for effective collaboration.

10.30     Coffee Break

11.00     Minimum legal norms for optimum conditions for civil society?
Chair: Tymen van der Ploeg (VU University Amsterdam)

What can fundamental rights mean for civil society? Do the freedom of association and of expression practically restrict legislators and policymakers when regulating their establishment, purposes and internal structure ? Do civil society organisations enjoy fundamental rights like privacy and fair trial? What conditions can be made by the public administration in case of public subventions. What is the position of civil society organisations in the ‘market’?

12.30     Lunch

14.00     Making the most out of tax incentives for charitable giving
Chair: Sigrid Hemels (Erasmus School of Law)

The tax system of most countries includes measures to stimulate charitable giving. During this session, we will explore how the Dutch measures are different from those in other countries. The comparison highlights unique elements of Dutch tax law but also shows where the Netherlands could learn from other countries. Given the recent debates in parliaments regarding tax deductability, this round table is will leave ample opportunity to also take into account the most up to date developments in this respect.

15.30     End program Day 1

Program Thursday July 12th 2018

8.30       Bequests as the black box of the next golden age of philanthropy
Chair: Theo Schuyt (VU University Amsterdam)

A black box is a device, system or object which can be viewed in terms of its inputs and outputs without any knowledge of its internal workings. For scientists and philanthropic organizations, bequests can be seen as such a black box. In many countries, a growing number of people bequeath their accumulated wealth to established organizations or create new foundations as their final whish. Indeed, elderly can be seen as key-actors in “The New Golden Age of Philanthropy”. However, the questions on who gives what to which charitable goals by means of legacies remain largely unresolved. This roundtable will touch upon a number of these questions, while ‘geronto-philanthropy’ might be coined as term for this cornerstone of philanthropy for the decades ahead.

10.00     Coffee Break

10.30     Next gen philanthropists
Chair: Renee Steenbergen (Utrecht University)

Giving circles are an example of a new type of philanthropic engagement. But what motivates the next gen philanthropists? Do they differ from traditional donors? Are they Game Changers or Game Breakers? New endowed foundations are established by younger and entrepreneurial founders. To what extent are these foundations driven by different drivers? Also crowdfunding might be an example of a new expression of philanthropic behavior. Although the phenomenon ”crowdfunding” isn’t new, the growing possibilities to make a difference as an individual for an specific (private) goal, increases awareness of the impact of private initiative, including the economic value of “giving time”. These questions are central in this round table.

13.00     Lunch

14.00     Beyond do-it-yourself in development aid
Chair: Sara Kinsbergen (Radboud University Nijmegen)

Small scale voluntary development initiatives express a Do-it-Yourself trend in private initiatives. How are these initiatives related to the large established organizations? What is the sustainability of these initiatives? What kind of difference do they make And to what extent are the experiences in international development also applicable to other domains? Chaired by Sara Kinsbergen, this round table will discuss the do-it-yourself trend by addressing these questions and by elaborating on the potential consequences for the established order of philanthropic organizations.

15.30     Coffee Break

16.00     Pluralism in the polder (Livestream)
Chair: Lucas Meijs (Rotterdam School of Management)

God created the earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands. With more than half the country below sealevel, and it’s location in the delta of major European rivers, a need for collaboration urged the Dutch to work together in their enduring battle against floods. After centuries of building dykes and innovative water management systems, they have been able to protect the country from the sea, and have taken land by creating it’s world famous polders. The classic need for different stakeholders to combat water by working together can be found in other collaborative networks as well, and has been named the ‘Poldermodel’.

Taking place in the Aula, the round tables will culminate in the Dutch plenary session on Thursday afternoon, where four representatives of the Dutch Academic Hosting Committee will reflect on the relevance, advantages and shortcomings of this Dutch consensus based “Poldermodel”, which can been described as “a pragmatic recognition of pluriformity” or “cooperation despite differences” between different societal actors. Does it provide opportunities for growth within civil society? Or does it hamper initiative? And what future for the ‘poldermodel’ in an era of increasing fragmentism? All ISTR conference participants are invited to join the discussion!

17.30     Public lecture René Bekkers on ‘Values of philanthropy’ (Livestream)

18.30     Reception

19.30     End program Day 2



Full Conference             € 650,-

Dutch Days only          € 375,-

One day only                 € 250,-

One session only           € 75

*Rates include attending all sessions, breaks, lunches and receptions if applicable.