The Reading and Writing Foundation focusses on preventing and tackling low literacy in the Netherlands. We attempt to create a society in which everyone can participate by having a decent level of essential skills such as reading, writing, numeracy and digital skills.  
In the Netherlands more than 2.5 million people have difficulties with these skills. This knock-on effects such as struggling to find a job, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing personal finances.  
Therefore we are committed to create a society in which: 

  • Adults are able to work on improving their basic skills on their own level in their own neighbourhood, 
  • Every child leaves school with basic skills in place, 
  • Getting government bodies, businesses and other organisations to communicate in accessible language so that everyone will understand their message.  

Therefore our approach consists of three pillars:  

Awareness and Activation 

We raise awareness about low literacy. We promote a society in which everyone can work on their basic skills, no matter their background, age or residence. We create public campaigns, organise events and lobby decision-makers of all levels. 

Advice and Action

On a national and local level we connect relevant people and organisations that can deal with the challenge of low literacy. Furthermore we advise local councils, companies and other organisations on their approach to tackle low literacy.  
Knowledge and development renewal

We collect and collate knowledge and expertise on how to prevent and tackle lowliteracy. We actively share our knowledge with government, business, and organisations, for example via the Expertcentre Basic Skills (in Dutch: Expertisepunt Basisvaardigheden).  
To understand the many aspects of low literacy we made a short movie: The Story of Lisa. Watch it below!

Facts about low literacy in the Netherlands 

A range of statistics and background information is available to help with the development of action plans for setting up a Literacy House. This is an accessible location in most municipalities where people are helped to find the right course to improve their literacy skills.  

Facts can provide the characteristics of the target group of people with literacy problems. Some facts: 

  • In the Netherlands around 2.5 million people have problems with reading and/or writing. 
  • In the Netherlands there are 740,000 workers with literacy problems.  
  • Low literate people miss out on annual income due to lower reading, writing and numeracy skills (€572 million every year). 
  • More than 25% of the 15 year olds run the risk of becoming low literate at a later age.