What you can do

Many citizens of Utrecht want to help Refugees. Families, colleagues, sports friends, neighbours, organizations, companies, mosques and church communities all help refugees to feel welcome. Do you want to do something yourself? There are many ways to help. You can set up your own initiative, organize an activity or help with existing activities. Want to do something? Please register here. Below you can find examples of a variety of activities offered and helpful info about donations.

Buddy worden

Vluchtelingen - in het azc, maar ook met een woning - willen meestal graag contact met Nederlanders. Om hun Nederlands te verbeteren, om wegwijs te worden in hun nieuwe stad, om hun netwerk uit te breiden en gewoon - omdat het fijn is om Nederlandse vrienden of kennissen te hebben. Daarom vragen wij regelmatig buddy's: maatjes. We gaan daarbij uit van de behoeften van de vluchteling maar ook van de Utrechtse buddy. En dat kan van alles zijn. Zo helpt een student Geografie een Eritrese jongen met zijn huiswerk voor de Nederlandse les, focust een Afghaanse man samen met zijn buddy op het beter leren schrijven en gaan twee dames regelmatig sporten, om vanachter de fitnessapparaten nog wat Nederlands te praten. 

Er zijn veel vluchtelingengezinnen in Utrecht. Ook die willen graag Nederlands leren en wegwijs raken in de stad. Wij koppelen ook gezinnen - zogenaamde gezinsbuddy's. Ook daar is het weer heel verschillend wat er gedaan wordt. Sommige gezinnen koken samen een keer in de twee weken, anderen laten vooral de kinderen samen spelen. Tijdens die activiteiten praten ze Nederlands. 

Kortom: het maakt niet zoveel uit wat je wilt gaan doen met een vluchteling, als dit maar aansluit bij waar die behoefte aan heeft.

Wij gaan er vanuit dat er een klik moet zijn tussen twee mensen die met elkaar optrekken. We adviseren daarom om eerst vrijblijvend kennis te maken. Voelt het goed, dan ga je verder met elkaar.  Is dat niet het geval, dan kijken wij verder voor jou. Dit geldt voor de Utrechtse buddy evenzeer als voor de vluchteling. We gaan altijd uit van gelijkwaardigheid. 

Wil jij (of je gezin) buddy worden van een vluchteling of informatie hierover krijgen? Mail dan naar info@welkominutrecht.nu


Refugees who have obtained a residence permit get language lessons by professional teachers. The number of hours per week varies. Asylum migrants still in procedure and lacking their permit can only receive lessons from volunteers. There are some refugees who want additional lessons. A logical wish as speaking Dutch makes life in the Netherlands much easier: shopping, making contacts, understanding forms, and finding a (voluntary) job are all more manageable when you know the language.

Language Café
Would you like to help refugees learn the Dutch language? The Language Café, an initiative of Taalles Vluchtelingen and Welkom in Utrecht is the place to do that. In the Taalcafé citizens of Utrecht and residents of the azc meet one another to practice Dutch. Taalcafé takes place in Kantien (Ravellaan 96) on Monday evening and Wednesday mornings, on Tuesday evenings in Lunetten and in buurtcentrum De Jager on Wednesday evening. Do you want to help with the conversation classes or practice Dutch? Send a mail to Katinka@welkominutrecht.nu.

Watch the RTL Telecast about the language Cafe.

Other organizations
There are many more organizations and places where volunteers give language lessons to refugees. Want to join? Take a look at their websites to register:

Do you want to start a language initiative? Click here.

Playing & meeting

Is your neighbourhood planning a field day? Is your company or organisation planning a social outing? Are you involved in any type of meetup event for people of different backgrounds or languages? Consider inviting azc residents! If you see opportunities or have an idea, click here.


Men, women, old people and young, all like sports. Invite them to join your own intramural team! Do you jog with a group or a run club? Perhaps you can invite azc-residents to join. Do you lift weights or crosstrain? Maybe you would like to offer those services to refugees as well? It would be nice to organize a tournament. Have an idea for one? Please report here.

Help with moving out

At a certain moment refugees got new houses and are ready to move out.

This can be a huge job. Some refugees have problems with language, with choosing the right home appliances or they have problems with transportation. They need a local citizen to help with these issues.

We have an initiative called ‘Verhuispool,’ where local Dutch citizens volunteer help newcomers with the move-in process.

If you want to help, let us know by apping Hellen at: 06 511 923 16.

Cooking & eating

Cooking and having dinner together is a relaxed way to meet others. You could organize a dinner with your family, club, organization, company or institution. Everlasting friendships often come from breaking bread. Like to give it a try? Keep an eye on the website of Stichting Eet Mee. This foundation facilitates eating and cooking meetings where you can join.
Would you like to organize a cooking event or dinner yourself. Consider including refugees. We can help you make contacts. Do you have an idea? Click here.

Arts & crafts

Being busy, creating something wonderful, and expressing yourself through art is a joyful activity. Transfer your skills to others in the fields of knitting, jewelry making, painting or photography, in large groups or on a small scale. Let us know via this form.

Children & youth

All kinds of activities for children in the azc are being organized by COA. Most of them are inside the azc.

Volunteering work COA children’s club in AZC Oog in Al. It's about two groups:

  • Every Monday 30 h – 17.45 h (age 4 till 6 years old)
  • Every Tuesday 16.30 h – 19.30 h (age 7 till 9 years old)

Activities at the club include theatre/dancing, making handicrafts, playing outside, playing games, et cetera. Beside that, the Kinderclub sometimes organizes trips at the weekends or during holidays.

The children usually do not speak Dutch. Because of the changing of the azc-residents the composition of the group of children changes regularly.

Are you interested? Do you have the following skills and possibilities?

  • You have affinity and/or experience with children.
  • Every week you are present one hour before the Kinderclub starts and one hour after it ends
  • You can work independently
  • You have a sense of responsibility
  • You have a flexible attitude

Please send an e-mail with your personal details and motivation to Maria Drewes: drewesmaria@hotmail.com. Volunteers who work at the Kinderclub must give a ‘Verklaring Omtrent Gedrag’ (certificate of good conduct).

If you organize an outside activity for children by yourself, then guidance from parents or tutors will be needed. For youngsters there are several conditions that must be met as well. Teenagers currently not attending school often have nothing to do. They have a great need for activities. Do you have an idea?  Let us know via this form.

Goods and clothing

Do you have goods or clothing you want to give to refugees? Here below you find places, stores and organisations where you can deliver the stuff:

‘Het winkeltje’ AZC Joseph Haydnlaan

Run by a group f volunteers.


There is a demand for and educational toys (children's puzzles, building materials such as Lego) and picture books for small children, shoes and winter clothes. Especially winter jackets for men and other clothing for men (small and medium). Currently there is no demand for women clothes. But Duvets, fitted sheets, duvet covers and towels are asked for. There is a surplus of plashes and baby toys.

Please make sure the goods and clothes you would like to donate are clean and without defects. Dropoffs can be made Mondays between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm (preferably between 11:00 to 1:00 pm) hours at AZC Joseph Haydnlaan 2, 3533 AE Utrecht. 'Het Winkeltje' is closed during holidays.

Clothing deposited in the Salvation Army Reshare containers also often goes to refugees.

To furnish their homes, newcomers frequently buy their goods and furniture in so called Weggeefwinkels and kringloopwinkels (Shops where you can take goods for free and second hand shops)

Weggeefwinkel Utrecht
Tweede Daalsedijk 2a
Every Wednesday and Saturday from 2:00 to 5:00
For more info, click here.  

Utrecht Weggeeftafel in Podium Oost
Oudwijkerdwarsstraat 148
Click here for more information

Buurthuis Rosa Malakkastraat is also a good place to drop donations. It’s known among refugees for good finds for free. Click here for more information.

Or check out the many facebook pages where goods are offered for free, like Gratis ophalen in Utrecht en Omgeving.