ACCESS is a not-for-profit organisation established in The Hague in 1986 to encourage, support, assist and facilitate internationals coming to The Hague for business, research, or diplomatic posting. It is completely managed and staffed by volunteers, providing a service that is unique in the entire world.
Born, bred and raised in The Hague, ACCESS continues to provide its no-cost services to internationals across the country through their Helpdesk located in their back-office in The Hague. Since 2012 they have further extended their support to personally respond to and serve internationals through partnerships with municipal expat centres in The Hague, Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Leiden.
Through its website, ACCESS provides answers to questions internationals have when considering a relocation to the Netherlands. ACCESS also responds to questions people have as they arrive and settle, as well as when living in the Netherlands. Through its Helpdesk – via email, telephone, or at expat centres – ACCESS provides personalised service.
Its Counselling Services Network consists of expat experienced psychologists who are on-call to refer clients to the right support they need; be it language, area of specialisation or location within the country. This service is free of charge.
Through the ACCESS Training Network, a variety of professionals offer courses, coaching or guidance on several expat-related topics such as reviewing one’s CV or preparing for the birth of child in a foreign country. ACCESS Trainers provide not only their expertise, but are also empathetic to the added challenges of relocating and global living.
ACCESS consistently maintains a staff of nearly 130 volunteers representing 40+ countries – each one of whom brings to ACCESS their own personal international experiences of living and adjusting to the cultures of countries other than their home country. Almost all of the volunteers at ACCESS are partners of people who have relocated to the Netherlands to work or study. Other volunteers are Dutch nationals who have significant international living experience.
Just as important as what ACCESS provides to the international community is what it offers its own volunteers. In a 2014 survey of past ACCESS volunteers, “ … 93% of correspondents agreed or strongly agreed that in general joining ACCESS is/was a positive and valuable contribution to their stay in the Netherlands.” In providing professional volunteer opportunities to the spouse/partners of internationals, ACCESS also plays a role in supporting dual-career challenges of relocating professionals.
The Hague International Centre
Since 2012 ACCESS has partnered with the municipality of The Hague at The Hague International Centre, which provides international staff with a full-service entry point into The Hague region. Through the facilitation of registration, formalities and a welcoming orientation to The Hague, ACCESS supports the human resources departments of The Hague's businesses and universities. ACCESS received a 9.5/10 satisfaction rate from the international clients which have registered through The Hague International Centre.
The Partners & Supporters
ACCESS and what it does though would not be possible without the additional support from their Partners. Service providers, international employers as well as international education institutions support the work of ACCESS. This support ensures there is a place for their staff andclients to turn to and where the accompanying spouses of their staff can find a spring board to their own lives in the Netherlands.
2010 winner of the Expatica “Expat Service Provider of the Year” and nominated for The Hague Success Award in 2017, ACCESS continues to focus on the people who make up the international community, helping them find the answers to the questions which arise when trying to settle and make a home in a country far from ‘home’.