Welcome to the English page of IBO-Nederland!

Since the entire website of IBO-Nederland is in Dutch, it is difficult to understand for people who don’t speak the language. Therefore we created this English page to provide you with some information.

In short: IBO-Nederland is a Dutch foundation that mediates between volunteers and project organizations that need their help.


Are you part of an organization? Please scroll down to see when and how to apply for help from volunteers.


Are you a volunteer? Please find a suitable project here. (Most project descriptions are in Dutch. We are working on English pages, but for now: try Google Translate! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask: info@ibo-nederland.org)


Volunteer with IBO-Nederland
Volunteers should be prepared for adventure, meeting new people, and getting to know a country. In addition they need enthusiasm, must be willing to collaborate and have great love for the world.

As a volunteer you will work on a small-scale project abroad. All projects are chosen with care. Volunteers don’t travel as tourists, but get the chance to experience culture, the country and its people from a different point of view. IBO aspires to help create an international group of volunteers on every project. Volunteers work together with other volunteers and local people, to fulfil the goals set for the specific project. IBO considers cultural exchange, and gaining understanding and (personal) experience to be important elements of taking part in a voluntary project.

In general, IBO expects volunteers to be willing and able to work for 5 days a week, for 8 hours a day. It is not necessary to have job experience, as long as you are willing to learn and to work.


All volunteers have to declare that they have read the general terms and conditions of participation and our code of conduct, and agree to these.

Philosophy: 'Willingness to help is the start of a better world'

IBO stands for International Building Organisation, and ‘Nederland’ is Dutch for The Netherlands.  IBO-Nederland is the Dutch branch of the International Building Association, which has member organisations in several European countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland).

The very first IBO was established in Belgium in 1953 by the priest Werenfried van Straaten. As part of IBO in Belgium, the Secular Institute of the Building Organisation (SIBO) started in 1956. This organization was meant for long-term, skilled volunteers. IBO-Nederland was initiated in 1957. The International Building Association, which enabled the international cooperation between the various IBO-organisations in Europe, was founded in 1962. Click here to enter the internationally shared website.

IBO-Nederland is a volunteer organisation with a long and rich history. In the early years, volunteers went mainly to Germany and Austria to help rebuild and renovate houses for refugees from WWII. Their living conditions were very poor. Over the years, housing conditions improved and other countries, where people lived in dire situations, were added. At first volunteers went to southern Europe and, after the end of the Cold War (1989), a number of projects in eastern Europe arose.  Besides only building/renovation activities, a demand for social care arose and, later on, also for ecological support.

Nowadays, the international IBO-organisations are able to commit over 2000 volunteers annually to projects all over the world. IBO-Nederland is accountable for 150+ volunteers.

To effectively and selflessly contribute to the realization of projects for people in need, regardless of their religion, worldview or nationality. This cooperation is seen as an expression of solidarity, as a contribution to the improvement of international relations and as a means of spiritual enrichment of those who are actively or passively involved.

To accomplish the goals, IBO-Nederland actively implements her policy to annually mediate enough volunteers to projects where their help is needed. This is realised with financial support of donors. The policy is based on our core values respect, openness, reliability and quality.

By helping to enable collaboration between volunteers and local communities, IBO-Nederland contributes to (the development of) solidarity, understanding of other cultures and social awareness

Do you want to organize a project? Request for volunteer support!

IBO welcomes new and inspiring projects that fit our goals, vision and mission. Do you have a project that can use the help of IBO volunteers? You can download our application form here.

Projects may be eligible for support from IBO-Nederland if the social and financial necessity is clear. The work has to be suitable for untrained and often inexperienced volunteers. The project organization has to provide a project (work) leader, who is experienced and knows what is to be done and how. As organizer of a project, you are responsible for the quality of the work.


IBO tries to recruit volunteers for the project who are willing and able to work 5 days a week, 8 hours a day. The project organization provides the work, materials and food and accommodation for the duration of the project.


IBO does not fund the project. However, if the project organization is not able to fund the project, it is possible to apply for limited project support in order to be able to buy materials for the project and provide food and accommodation for the volunteers.


The IBO-board decides whether or not, and for how much, a project will be supported.



Projects / initiatives that meet all the criteria below may be eligible for support from IBO-Nederland. Based on the application, the board of IBO-Nederland will assess whether a project is eligible for support.

  1. The social necessity of the project (organisation) is clear and it has to do with living conditions of people.
  2. The financial necessity is clear: it has proven to be impossible or very hard to realize the project in any other way (please explain!).
  3. The project is likely to be viable (especially when it concerns a new initiative).
  4. The work is suitable for inexperienced volunteers.


The volunteers are mainly youth between 18 and 30 years old who want to do something good and useful during their (summer) holiday. In recent years other people have taken an interest as well, for instance people in the age group over 30, families and people who are retired from their jobs. IBO applauds this and welcomes all volunteers who are able and willing to work.


The volunteers are available to work for five days a week, eight hours a day. They usually do not have any building experience or specific technical, social or ecological knowledge or training. Nevertheless, results can be sensational if they are guided well!


Besides these untrained volunteers, IBO also aims to mediate students or trainees. If your project is suitable for, or already offers, certain traineeships, please contact IBO as well.

All volunteers have to declare that they have read the general terms and conditions of participation and our code of conduct, and agree to these.

Suitable work

In consultation with the applicant, the volunteers can do simple building jobs, like carpentry, masonry, demolition, plastering or drywall. Or they can be put to work in an ecological environment, as gardeners or signpost builders for example. Also social activities, for example helping to take care of elderly or disabled or organizing creative activities or small sports events, are possible.


Most projects last two to four weeks. For volunteers, this is usually just right. If work is abundant and supervision is available, we can discuss the possibilities of forming several groups of volunteers during one summer, one group after another.


The project organization is responsible for supervising the work.


Accommodation, food and coordination of the work

IBO expects the project to provide for safe and good accommodation. Luxury is not expected. A clean and dry space, if possible with beds, will do. And of course some kind of sanitary possiblities.


Also breakfast, lunch and dinner should be provided for by the project. Depending on possibilities, arrangements can be made for the volunteers to cook for themselves or to have someone cook for them.


It´s very important that there is someone the volunteers can contact throughout the project, who supervises during work hours and is available for work related issues, organizational affairs, small talk and everyday problems.


Finally it´s important that the volunteers feel welcome when they arrive. This can be achieved, for instance, by picking them up, making sure they are welcomed at arrival, help them fill their leisure time and arrange some local contacts.


Planning and materials

It´s important that the work that is to be done during the project is planned carefully. This planning should be discussed with the volunteers at the start of the project, so they know what is expected of them. Also, it´s helpful if the volunteers are informed about the projects aims and background.


Everyday work can be divided in short, daily work meetings. Of course it is very important to have (building-) materials and tools available when the volunteers are at the project.


We advise you to think about alternative work that can be done by the volunteers if the planned work can´t take place due to unforeseen events or weather conditions.



The project responsible is expected to:

  • Make sure there is enough work for the volunteers for 7 to 8 hours every weekday.
  • Have a work plan
  • Coordinate the project, supervise the work and provide sufficient material to work with
  • Take care of accommodation, meals and transport for the volunteers
  • Inform the volunteers about the projects aims and background
  • Make sure the volunteers feel welcome


For information, you can contact us at IBO-Nederland.

To apply for volunteer support: download the application form.