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About us

What does Welkom in Utrecht do?

The Welkom in Utrecht Foundation brings refugees who live in Utrecht into contact with people from the region and vice versa. Activities are offered for, by and with refugees. This happens, among other things, in the field of language, sports and culture. In addition, activities are organised such as cooking, walking and doing odd jobs together.

‘I learned things about the culture here. If you don’t know the culture, you can face many problems.’

We dedicate ourselves to refugees who stay, sometimes for years, in reception centres and to people who, in the meantime, have received a (temporary) residence permit and live independently in Utrecht. The activities of Welkom in Utrecht help refugees to build their own network, which contributes to their independent lives. It increases the possibilities of learning the Dutch language, gaining knowledge about society and developing one’s own competencies and capacities. It also helps in finding work and gives a sense of belonging to the city of Utrecht, which is necessary in order to feel at home and to get involved in your new living environment.

Our activities also offer relaxation and distraction. This counteracts stress and negative feelings, which contributes to mental health. This is important for good integration. But even if refugees ultimately do not stay in the Netherlands, it helps them in the future if they have been able to develop further and not have to stand still. Experiences that stimulate a positive, energetic attitude are therefore necessary for their next stages of life.

Also for the inhabitants of the Utrecht region, real, personal contact with refugees is also important. It brings understanding and tolerance towards these people who may become your new neighbours. It can give you a broader and richer view of life.

‘I have found such amazing friends through the Kinderclub. It makes me feel more at home here’.

Do you want to know more about refugees? Where they come from, where they are received and how their procedure works once they arrive in the Netherlands? Then continue reading here.

How do we do this?

For our activities, Welkom in Utrecht makes use of the great sources of creativity, strength, solidarity and organisational capacity of people and organisations from (the region of) Utrecht. Thus, refugees can (often together with other people from Utrecht) play football, canoe, mosaic, learn Dutch, dance, picnic, play games or go to yoga. They cook and eat together or go to museums or concerts together. In pairs, in groups or with another family. Most activities, we do not organise ourselves, but they come from the ideas of residents in Utrecht and the surrounding area. We often only facilitate the streamlining of ideas, the organisation of the activity and the invitation of people.

The group of refugees is extremely diverse (in terms of education, culture, age, etc.), and so are their needs. That is why the range of activities is very diverse. There is something for an illiterate goat herder from Eritrea and a fashionable artist from Yemen. And for a timid old lady from Afghanistan and an extrovert merchant from Syria. To name but a few.

Key persons help us to build good contact with our target group. They also help us to act culturally sensitively.

The team

Together with our enthusiastic team, partners and many committed Utrechters, we make as many activities possible for all refugees in Utrecht.

Eline Bosch Program director AZC Joseph Haydnlaan & Permit holders eline@welkominutrecht.nu

Fatima El Kaddouri Controller fatima@welkominutrecht.nu

Jane Karashchuk Program officer Ukraine jane@welkominutrecht.nu

Hellen Kooijman Project leader Ukraine & Emergency Shelter Star Lodge Hotels hellen@welkominutrecht.nu

Sophie Koster
Communications & Program officer AZC Joseph Haydnlaan
sophie@welkominutrecht.nu

Rebecca de Kuijer
Director
rebecca@welkominutrecht.nu

Jesse Maasland
Activity facilitator Noodopvang Star Lodge Hotels
jesse@welkominutrecht.nu

Marit Meijer
Program officer Noodopvang Star Lodge Hotels
marit@welkominutrecht.nu

Frank van Soest
Program officer Sports & Play
frank@welkominutrecht.nu

Employees of Stichting Welkom in Utrecht are paid in accordance with the COA Welzijn & Social Services.

The board

Madeleine Pannekoek Chairperson Additional positions: Owner Madeleine Pannekoek Interim Management

Katinka Jesse Secretary Additional positions: Writer

Oscar Bremer Treasurer Additional positions: Accountant at Administratiekantoor ASK

Sofie Croonenberg Board member Additional positions: Project officer advocacy at Stichting Vluchteling bestuurslid MiGreat

The board performs its duties free of charge and does not receive any reimbursement for travel expenses.

Volunteers

We work together with many volunteers. People sometimes participate once, or more often and some of them are present every week. At the moment Marc Speijers, Kasia Karolak, Benyam Goush Alema, Yasser Nassar, Atieh Mousavi, Mubaraka Haidari, and Maha Jaafar are our regular volunteers. And then there are all the buddies and buddy families who practice Dutch together, go on outings, visit each other and become friends.

Do you want to do something? Let us know and send an email to info@welkominutrecht.nu. It doesn’t matter if you have an idea or not yet – we will be happy to see what is possible!

How did Welkom in Utrecht start?

In early September 2015, many people took action to do something for the large group of refugees who came to our country at that time. We started the Facebook page Welkom in Utrecht, where such ideas and initiatives from Utrecht could get a stage and initiators could find each other.
From the first opening of (emergency) shelters that month, Welcome to Utrecht grew into a platform for everyone who wanted to develop activities for and with refugees in Utrecht. Dozens of organisations and hundreds of involved citizens organised activities in the field of art and culture, sports, small-scale meetings and language.

We were able to grow further and perpetuate activities at the temporary ASC at the Einsteindreef where refugees were housed according to the vision of Plan Einstein. We are now working for the residents of all refugee centres in Utrecht. In addition, we also regularly involve independent status holders in the (organization of) activities.

Our big thanks go to everyone who made Welkom in Utrecht work so well in the exciting and very important initial phase. There are hundreds of them – maybe even more. Several initiatives that were set up in this first period still exist and now function independently. Examples are the network New Neighbours and the Sewing Workshop from Hagar to Ruth.

Since July 2016 Welkom in Utrecht is a foundation. And although we have had to formalize a few things in order to keep going and grow, our motto is still the same as in the early days: in principle everything is possible and we want to make as much happen as possible – as long as it is safe and connects to what refugees need and helps them to feel at home in Utrecht. This is why we still use our flexible working method.

Who do we work with?

Welkom in Utrecht is part of Plan Einstein. Plan Einstein is an idea from the Municipality of Utrecht and a lot of cooperative partners; an innovative approach to the housing and integration of refugees. This approach focuses on joint activities and meetings between residents of the ASC and local residents under the motto ‘live together, learn together, work together’.

Under the umbrella of Plan Einstein, we collaborate with VluchtelingenWerk Nederland, Social Impact Factory, Marcelliens Good Company, Stut Theater, Oscar van den Ende Business Training & Advisory Services, Radio Einstein, New Dutch Connections and De Voorkamer, among others.

To be able to do our work the way we do now, we work with many Utrechters and organizations in the city and beyond. These can also be informal organizations. See below for a non-exhaustive list of these organizations.

Do you also want to become a partner of Welkom in Utrecht? Don’t hesitate to contact us at info@welkominutrecht.nu.

ANBI status

Stichting Welkom in Utrecht has been designated by the tax authorities as an Institution for General Benefit (ANBI). This means, among other things, that donations to our foundation are deductible from the income tax return.

You can make a donation to NL50 TRIO 0391 1807 38 in the name of Stichting Welkom in Utrecht. Thanks in advance!

Click further for the annual report en de annual account van 2021. Would you like to see our annual reports and annual accounts from other years? Mail to info@welkominutrecht.nu.

See here for standard publication requirement for ANBI status.

Fiscal number / RSIN: 856448394.

Privacy statement

Welkom in Utrecht attaches importance to your privacy and the correct processing of your personal details. See below our privacy statements for the various target groups we work with.

See here for the privacystatement for participants of our activities.
See here for the privacystatement for our volunteers.
See here for the privacy statement for our website visitors.

Contact

Visiting address Joseph Haydnlaan 2A 3533 AE Utrecht

Postal address Bilderdijkstraat 26 3532 VG Utrecht

Chamber of Commerce number: 66219655. Bank account number: NL50 TRIO 0391 1807 38 in the name of Stichting Welkom in Utrecht.

Should you have any complaints or other feedback, please see our complaints procedure on how to make these known to us.