This article illustrates the development of government–nonprofit collaboration in the Netherlands. It first gives an overview of the scope and structure of the nonprofit sector and voluntary work and then explains the crucial steps in the evolution of the partnership arrangement between the public sector and nonprofit institutions. The article describes the past significance of so-called pillarization on the development of the nonprofit sector and its collaboration with the state. In accommodating a broad diversity of nonprofit organizations with different religious and social backgrounds, the Netherlands created an elaborate mechanism for government–nonprofit collaboration in which nonprofit organizations fulfill functions in service delivery and policy formation. However, the sector is now fundamentally fragmented and has little shared identity left today. Paradoxically, its past success also makes it less likely that the Dutch nonprofit sector will be regarded as a solution to current social problems. The authors used data from TSI field work.

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