A Safe Nest for Children in Refugee Centres, Netherlands

The ‘Nest model: a Home Away from Home’ is an after-school programme developed in Bosnia and Herzegovina by Kinderpostzegels, IN Foundation and ICDI. In essence it is a safe, stable place for children coming from difficult backgrounds, where they can receive psychosocial and educational support.

There are 4 Dutch Nests: one in the refugee centre in Katwijk (running already since 2014), one in the refugeecentre in Burgum (operational since 2016). In Zeewolde the 3rd Nest opened in October 2017 and the fourth Nest will be opened in the refugee centre in Drachten in January 2018. The model from Bosnia has been adapted to the specific circumstances in Dutch refugee centres. Hundreds of kids growing up in very difficult circumstances can make use of Nest, to enjoy creative activities that boost their resilience.

ICDI’s role is to train the staff and volunteers of Stichting De Vrolijkheid, the main implementing organization, in the Nest approach, to support the process and to do research on the impact on the children.


The Nest Centre is originally an after-school facility for children from multi-problem families. It was developed and pioneered in Bosnia and Hercegovina by Kinderpostzegels and IN Foundation, with technical support from International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI).

Starting in 2014 De Vrolijkheid, a Dutch organization that implements creative activities for children in refugee centres, has set up a Nest for children in AZCs (asielzoekercentra; these are camp like places where asylum seekers are living awaiting a refugee status or when they are to be send back to their countries of origin).

As one can imagine, children in the refugee camps experience a lot of stress. The main aim of the Nest Centre is to strengthen children’s resilience, to help them cope better with their situation.

ICDI is involved in training and supporting the core staff, and does research into the impact on the psychosocial well-being of the children. 

Facts and figures


Stichting De Vrolijkheid

Project Manager

Mathijs Euwema