People who have difficulty reading or writing face challenges fully participating in society. Applying for a job, travelling, or registering for benefits can all be problematic. They are also likely to have trouble operating a computer or smart phone, making participation even more of an issue.

The result is a social gap between those who are able to read and write and those who find it difficult. To become a stable and strong society we need to close that gap.

Making a society in which everyone can participate

In the Netherlands there are 2.5 million adults with literacy and numeracy issues. Often, that means they also have trouble using a computer or smart phone. This can have many knock-on effects: finding a job, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and managing personal finances all become more challenging.

Our aim is to ensure that everyone is able to read and write.

That’s why we make functional illiteracy part of the public and political debate.

We also support organisations by offering training, research and study material, as well as advice and campaigns. Because we all benefit from a society in which everybody can participate.


We are committed to supporting anyone who has difficulty reading and writing, and who therefore also have problems operating a computer or smart phone – so that everyone in the country can participate in society.

We are committed to:

  • Adults being able and allowed to learn at their own level in their own neighbourhood.
  • Children being literate and numerate by the time they leave school – and preventing difficulty with reading and writing being passed on from parent to child.
  • Getting government bodies, businesses and other organisations to communicate to everyone as simply and accessibly as possible – this will only be achievable if they cooperate with each other effectively.


1. Awareness and activation

We raise awareness about functional illiteracy. We do this to get support for tackling it. We want to normalise the idea of ongoing adult learning.

2. Advice and action

We connect people and organisations with each other and we build networks. We support local government in tackling functional literacy. We advise and run projects that help prevent and reduce functional literacy.

3. Knowledge development and renewal

We collect and collate knowledge and expertise on how to tackle functional illiteracy. We actively share our knowledge with government, business, and organisations. We use this knowledge to start new projects.


Stichting Lezen en Schrijven is the advocate organisation for literacy and numeracy in the Netherlands.

We are the organisation in the Netherlands that…

… knows about people with literacy issues and the problems they encounter.

… knows what kind of help people with literacy issues need, thanks to our research, knowledge and years of experience. 

… can speak a variety of ‘languages’ – whether that’s to government bodies or people who have difficulty reading.

… knows all the players in the chain – local, regional and national.

… can raise the subject of local developments in national networks, the political sphere, and the media.

All these factors mean we can identify what’s needed. And we take the initiative to achieve what’s needed, in dialogue with other organisations. That way, everyone involved can invest their expertise to maximum effect and prevent and reduce functional literacy.