About The European Social Fund 2014 – 2020

The European Union (EU) distributes ESF-subsidies among all its membership countries. Between 2014 and 2020 The Netherlands has an amount of 507 million to spend. ESF subsidies are implemented by Agentschap SZW, which is part of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.


The Netherlands spends the subsidy received on the following themes within the ESF program:

  • Active Inclusion: to give those who have drifted far away from the labour market the chance to get back into gainful employment. Low-qualified jobseekers, people from immigrant backgrounds, jobseekers with disabilities, mothers returning to work after long breaks, ex-prisoners and young people without qualifications are examples of the groups being targeted by ‘active inclusion’ measures.
  • Supporting working lives: against a background of an ageing population, the Netherlands wants to give people opportunities to work for longer. ESF projects are helping old and young workers resolve ‘work vs health’ issues and offering training opportunities in new skills to improve their job prospects. Employers are playing an important role by adapting working practices to suit the needs of workers of all ages.