Percentage of Population Age 65 and Over
Ecosystem for Policy and Social Innovation
The Netherlands is widely considered a global leader in aging policy and social innovation. Its strength stems from a culture that highly values solidarity and equality and is known for its polder model—a form of decision making characterized by consensus building and collaboration. The government encourages experimentation in new social programs and provides both academic resources as well as funding to test new ideas and to replicate successful ones. This has resulted in a productive policy and social innovation ecosystem, and it has produced programs created by diverse stakeholders and implemented through cross-sector collaboration.
“Even though the polder model sometimes hinders quick evolvement, it guarantees the involvement of all stakeholders—and eases the implementation of decisions afterwards. Stakeholders rarely delay the actual implementation of a decision they were involved in making.”
– Ronnie van Diemen, Inspector-General of the Netherlands Health Care Inspectorate
“Although the Netherlands embodies well-developed institutional infrastructure, rules and legislations are not too tight to hinder innovation, but rather allow for enough flexibility to pilot projects, testing ideas, proving their effectiveness, and scaling-up successful modes.”
– Joris Slaets, Director of Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing