Learn for Life
Dutch Platform for International Adult Learning
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With its unique expertise and international scope, LEARN FOR LIFE promotes

innovation in and implementation of social learning.



As long as the site is not in the English language this site will stay availble and accesible, but unfortunately not updated

DENNIS WACHT elected in the Executive Board of EAEA


On 6- 7 June 2013  the General Assembly of EAEA  at Leicester, UK has elected Learn for Life board member Dennis Wacht as member of the Executuve Board.  

Dennis Wacht provides a constructive contribution to EAEA during the coming years. As a former manager of the Grundtvig Programme he is able to understand different cultural contexts and the importance of working together within Europe to keep adult education on the European and National agenda’s, especially during the current financial crisis. Dennis’ experience in and contacts within Brussels as well as his knowledge of the workings of the funding principles of European programmes can contribute in the lobby towards the European Commission. Dennis also stresses the importance of a balanced representation of nations in the board of EAEA. Next to this it is his opinion that the EAEA should also strive to manifest itself broader than only the EU-countries.
Dennis Wacht wants to provide a constructive contribution to EAEA during the coming years. As a former manager of the Grundtvig Programme he is able to understand different cultural contexts and the importance of European collaboration to keep adult learning on the European and national agenda’s, particularly during the current financial crisis. Dennis’ experience in and contacts within Brussels as well as his knowledge of the procedures, the process  and the progress of the funding principles of EU-programmes can contribute in the lobby towards the European Commission. Therefore Dennis also stresses the importance of a balanced representation of nations in the board of EAEA  and he is strongly aware that EAEA covers a wider area than only the EU-countries. 
Adult Education in times of crisis - the Dutch case
Dennis Wacht 

Crisis in NL

The worldwide credit crisis of 2008 hit the Netherlands hard. Since the Netherlands has an open economy with a small domestic market and a large foreign market, the crisis affected the Dutch economy seriously. In 2009 and 2010, the government earmarked a total of almost €6 billion to stimulate the economy. A further €1.5 billion was provided by the provinces and municipalities. The measures were intended to promote a sustainable economy: reviving and maintaining employment, supporting business, and accelerating investment in construction, infrastructure and housing. To cushion the heaviest blows of the crisis, the government invested extra in keeping people working and businesses running. As a result, public spending grew considerably while public revenue (from taxes etc.) shrank. This is because businesses were making less profit, and people were earning less. If the government fails to take radical measures, Dutch public finances will be unsustainable. To tackle the budget deficit and reduce public spending, the government has proposed a package of measures aimed at saving €18 billion.

Adult education  and crisis

Does the crisis affect adult education in the Netherlands? Yes and no. Yes, because less money is available than in other countries. No, because even before the crisis, the government policy was not focused on investments and increasing the budgets for education. Inthis sense, the crisis is not a breaking point. Here Netherlandsdiffers from other countries where this is clearly the case.  Read the article.

Education Commissioner: EU invests in education in times of crisis


— We are trying to bring the world of education and the world of work closer together in order to produce the skills that are needed by the world of work, Commissioner Vassiliou says.

Commissioner for Education, Androulla Vassiliou, highlights that adult education can upgrade skills of the low-qualified and help in the challenges that ageing brings for Europe. Council of Europe reminds that supporting labour market is not the only goal of education.

Education is in the top of the Union´s agenda, says the Commissioner. It is a cure for unemployment.

— One of the big problems that we have is that we do not have the right skills of the people in order to fill jobs although we have unemployment — we have skills mismatch, says the Commissioner.

In addition to Education, Ms. Vassiliou is in charge of Culture, Multilingualism and Youth in the European Commission. She visited Helsinki last Friday as one of the keynote speakers of a meeting of 20 European Ministers of Education. The Conference focused on outlining the future work of the Council of the Europe related to education.

Democracy cannot exist without education

The Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, pointed out that education has also other aims than boosting the job market.

— Education is ultimately about the kind of society we want, not only about the kind of jobs we would like people to have, he said in his speech in the Minister Conference.

Separate from the EU system, the Council of Europe is devoted to democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Mr. Jagland links the most important task of education to Council´s values.

— Democracy cannot exist if we do not have the competences to make democracy work in practice, he stated. It cannot be built without pupils and students who learn to practice it.

Adult education as a cure for ageing

When asked about non-formal adult education´s position in the agenda of the EU´s work, Commissioner Vassiliou refers to Rethinking Education, the strategy published by the European Commission last November. The strategy is a tool for EU Member States to renew their education systems.

EU Council decided to endorse the strategy and published its Conclusions in February. EU Council calls Member States to validate the knowledge, skills and competences acquired in non-formal and informal settings. Adults should also be encouraged to take part to educational activities by providing information on lifelong learning services.

Commissioner Vassiliou says that adult education has also another important task: tackling the demographic change.

— Ageing means that people work longer years, so we have to continuously upgrade the skills of the adults, she says.

Text and photo: Aura Vuorenrinne




What is Learn for Life?
The Foundation for Folkhighschoolwork in The Netherlands has stopped her activities on January 1, 2011. The international work of the foundation will be continued by a new and ambitious organisation: Learn for Life.
Learn for Life is a network, a platform and a project partner in the field of adult education in The Netherlands and Europe.
Henk Hijink, chair
Jumbo Klercq, secretary
Lidwien Vos de Wael, staff
     LEARN FOR LIFE connects national and international developments in the field of adult education. During the
     last decade, the importance of lifelong learning in the broadest sense has been a key policy point both globally
     and on a European level. European policy documents recognise the non-formal, non-qualification based
     education of adults linked to life experience as a vital component of an integrated education policy. European
     policy on adult education only has an advisory role: member states are free to follow the recommendations
     but can also choose to go their own way. LEARN FOR LIFE believes that policy in the Netherlands should be
     more focused on a responsible analysis and implementation of European views and recommendations. Not     
     only the national government, but also regional and local governments can benefit from European d
     developments in local education. LEARN FOR LIFE wishes to contribute to the ‘translation’ of European policy
     to the Dutch situation and vice versa.

LEARN FOR LIFE encourages policy makers, financers and providers of adult education to be inspired by an international approach to lifelong learning, and learning for adults in particular. Lifelong learning offers an important contribution to the further democratisation of society, the emancipation of underprivileged groups and the promotion of social consciousness. Non-formal education should be recognised within this framework as an essential and crucial aspect of the broader educational range. LEARN FOR LIFE helps the Netherlands to again take an active role in the field of education and, in doing so, contributes to the development of the high quality knowledge-based society which the Netherlands wishes to be. 

About our mission

LEARN FOR LIFE is a network organisation and a platform for local, regional and national organisations active in the broad field of non-formal education. We bring organizations around the table in order to exchange and discuss experiences with projects and policy documents for adult education in Europe.


LEARN FOR LIFE develops international projects and contributes nationally and internationally to innovation and dissemination of educational projects.


LEARN FOR LIFE supports local and regional organisations and governments in the Netherlands in the development and shaping of their internationalisation
      policy with regard to non-formal education. 
      LEARN FOR LIFE closely follows European developments, such as the implementation of the European
      Qualifications Framework, the strategic goals of Education & Training 2020 and the European discussions on
      adult learning. When appropriate, it develops action points in this area.
      LEARN FOR LIFE is a discussion partner for institutes of the European Union. It acts as advocate for
      developments in adult education in the Netherlands. 
      LEARN FOR LIFE is a point of contact for ministries, local governments and institutions who wish to link
      Dutch policy on adult learning with international developments and viewpoints.
      LEARN FOR LIFE critically follows the policy of the Netherlands with regard to adult learning and tries,
      when necessary, to influence that policy in a positive sense.
      LEARN FOR LIFE awards an international prize annualy to a Dutch organisation which uses its own expertise
                                                                      in innovative projectrs in adult educational at an international level.  

Danish folkhighschool

European Projects in which Learn for Life has been  involved
Here you go to the project page of Learn for Life. Being there click on lees meer to get information in English language.

Further on.....
click on one of the headings below to read the text:
                                 Older news                                                         Other pages
In memoriam Bill Bax                                           Interesting studies
                                                                              Adult Learning in the Netherlands