Yesterday, 3 November 2007, thousands of Dutch offered their services free of charge to all kinds of “good causes” in a national day to promote civic volunteerism. This day, called the “Make a Difference Day” brought government officials, white collar workers, and even members of the royal family to serve as volunteers in old-age homes, hospitals, etc.
Queen Beatrix spent the day preparing food for an institution for the mentally retarded. She was shown on TV preparing soup and dessert for the residents of this institution. Other members of the royal family also participated by taking on other volunteer tasks
The Dutch has a strong tradition of civil volunteerism. However, in recent years, the drive to get everybody to do salaried work has cut back the number of people available to do volunteer work for non-profit organizations. As a result, many churches, sports associations, and charities have had problems in getting enough volunteers.