Why Incluusion?

Research shows that one of the explanatory factors for lower participation of refugees in the labour market is the long-term exclusion of participation in society while they are still waiting for their statuses or when they are still in the process of learning Dutch. For that reason, it is of great importance that refugees are not put ‘on hold’, but that they keep on developing themselves.

Exclusion has negative consequences for both the refugees and society at large, while it often leads to lower participation of refugees in the labour market and can be a cause for loneliness, depression and other mental health problems.

De initiatiefnemers van InclUUsion: Hilke Grootelaar, Marij Swinkels en Elena Valbusa.
The initiators of Incluusion: Hilke Grootelaar, Marij Swinkels and Elena Valbusa.

Incluusion is a call to action to make use of this waiting period. We believe that participation should be facilitated upon arrival in the Netherlands. By offering newcomers the chance to  attend courses at Utrecht University, newcomers get the opportunity to become involved, to continue their education and integrate into society.

Sponsors, partners and related projects

Incluusion is supported by various sponsors and partners. Since the start of this programme in 2016, several other universities started education programmes for refugee students.

Projects inspired by InclUUsion

Other programmes have been inspired by Incluusion:

  • WURth-while at Wageningen University & Research has started a project for refugee students, offering them the opportunity of participating for free in different courses offered by the university.
  • TU/enable offers students with a refugee background at TU Eindhoven the possibility to participate in a selection of undergraduate courses for free.
  • Engineers 4 Refugees is a similar programme at Delft University of Technology.
  • “Making Journeys: Building blocks for diversity” is a project based on Incluusion students' experiences, their buddies and teachers. Through Art Based Research methods, they will explore the role that diversity plays in the classroom at the university.
  • IncLUsion is a student initiative that enables refugee students, who are unable to enroll in regular education, to follow single courses at Leiden University free of charge.
  • The Greek version of Incluusion launched at the Department of Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies of the University of Macedonia offers refugees the opportunity to participate in Master courses. 



All those involved learn from each other and this creates mutual understanding.
De initiatiefnemers van InclUUsion: Hilke Grootelaar, Marij Swinkels en Elena Valbusa.
Co-founder of Incluusion