Charities opening Dutch offices after Brexit

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The Hague in the Netherlands is a hub for NGOs in Europe and globally

Four UK non-profit organisations have opened offices in the Netherlands ahead of the UK’s exit from the European Union next year.

Writing in this month's Charity Finance magazine, support organisation Euclid Network told how it decided to move its entire operation from the UK to The Hague in October last year.

Director Stephen J Barnett said: “Some 70-80 per cent of our revenue is from EU programmes, so the value per year is something like €550,000 and the value to partners across Europe in projects we’re coordinating is another €450,000. If we lost the EU funding, there would probably be no organisation.

“We talked about a range of options in all four corners of Europe, but felt that the Netherlands won out on the six factors we were considering. It had a strong local member in Social Enterprise NL, great transport links on rail and air, a good community of expats working for international NGOs, attainable staff costs and a solid international reputation.

“And The Hague really emerged because it has that unique combination of being a city with a community of international NGOs in it and a strong local focus on social enterprises. The Netherlands edged ahead of Austria largely because of the ease of doing business in English, the closer rail links to Brussels and London, and the wider air connections around Europe.”

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Human rights organisation REDRESS and aid charity International Alert also told Charity Finance about why they opened offices in The Hague since the Brexit vote in June 2016.

Rupert Skilbeck, director of REDRESS, said: “When we started thinking about establishing a base in Europe to maximise the global impact of our work seeking justice and reparation for torture survivors, we found that The Hague best exemplified that international outlook, and as an internationally-focused organisation, it provided the perfect platform for us.”

Debbie Ball, head of fundraising at International Alert, said her charity was attracted by the ability to continue to access EU funding, as well as the city’s welcoming attitude when setting up a new European office.

She said: “They helped to connect us with lawyers, banks, potential partners, other UK agencies who had made the move, and even other potential donors. This was all extremely helpful for us to easily gather all the necessary information about how to get registered and to operate effectively in the Netherlands.

“As a peacebuilding organisation, we are attracted by The Hague’s focus on peace and justice and it seems like a natural home for us. We are also excited by the possibilities of new partnerships, especially given the city’s focus on supporting different organisations to come together to form diverse partnerships and foster innovation.”

Aid organisation Field Ready has also opened an office in the Netherlands.

Charity Finance magazine is the only magazine for charity finance professionals. Find out what's in the latest issue here.

 

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