Van Waarde Lokaal

Restoring the democratic experience

With the Wiardi Beckman Stichting, the Dutch Labour Party think tank, we create an action-research platform on the future of the Dutch welfare state: Van Waarde Lokaal. The objective of the research is to monitor the effects of the recent decentralization of the social domain. As from january 2015 responsibility for social issues, work and youth was be tranfered from central 'the Hague' to the individual municipalities. 

Many motives played a role in the decision of the coalition government of the PvdA and the VVD to decentralize these tasks. Amongst others, the idea that municipalities are better equiped to deliver tailor-made services, as well as the ambition to cut the budget up to 25%. The WBS monitors under which conditions the transformation can contribute to the better achievement of core social democratic values (basic security, decent work, social cohesion, emancipation and the 'right of say'), identifies where these objectives are not being met, and brings together the ideas and activism of clients, workers, professional and academic experts and politicians, in order to come up with alternatives that better serve these values.

WBS director Monika Sie shared an in-progress update on the occasion of ‘Think-tank Day', organized by the Vereniging voor Bestuurskunde bringing together most major Dutch Think tanks in The Hague. 

What sets this platform apart from the many existing monitoring tools of governmental policies, is that the WBS will not only collect complaints (as many websites do), but also mobilize and organize follow-up as well as call for action for ‘value-driven politics’.

The platform trajectories start with individual cases, documented best practices or problems in terms of for instance basic security or decent work. Cumulative problems that affect larger communities become topics that are discussed by people involved, bloggers and academic experts, mobilizing wider attention. Building on this, an expert group will come up with proposals for additional or alternative policies, which are published on the platform. Committed local and national politicians, as well as action groups and media that, once mobilized, will leverage change. 

Every step will be logged and archived and is posted to be reviewed or commented upon. A true democratic society not only provides free speech, but also an infra-structure enabling  that this 'free speech' is actually heard, processed and reacted upon.

By realizing documented results that support the widely shared core values of basic security, decent work, social cohesion, emancipation, the ambition of the platform is to contribute to a restoration of the 'democratic experience'.

WBS, the Wiardi Beckman Stichting is the political Think Tank of the Social Democratic party PvdA.


Concept: Gijs Ockeloen, Auke Touwslager

Development: Overboord, Egbert Bleyenburg

Design: Zeezeilen, Alfred Marseille and Geert Henderickx 

Professional photography: Werry Crone 

Public design
Project kick-off: 
December 2014
Project delivered: 
November 2016
Media design
Project size: 
Project developers: 
Gijs Ockeloen
Mother project: 
Governance and politics
Media design
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