What is the SER?

The Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) is an advisory body in which employers, employees and independent experts (Crown-appointed members) work together to reach agreement on key social and economic issues.

The SER advises the Dutch government and Parliament on social and economic policy. It also facilitates agreements. Examples are the creation of the Dutch Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth and various agreements on international responsible business conduct. In addition, the SER carries out administrative tasks, for example to promote employee participation.

SER objectives

The goal of the SER is to promote broad prosperity in such a way that society, the economy and the environment are in balance with each other, here and now, in the future and elsewhere.

We aim to achieve this goal by working on the following points together:

  • Promoting enterprise and decent work.
  • Promoting sustainable growth and an inclusive society with a fair distribution of income.

What it means

The ability to create broad prosperity on a permanent basis grows due to innovation, enterprise and decent (volunteer) work. The SER therefore focuses on optimal (labour) participation, lifelong development, responsible business conduct and sustainable co-participation.

Sustainable growth is economic development that minimises the pressure on humans and the environment and the use of natural sources here and elsewhere. The transition to a sustainable economy offers many opportunities. A balanced economy is better able to withstand shocks and geopolitical developments and offers scope for people and companies to develop at both international and national level toward achieving a climate-neutral and circular society.

Everyone can participate in an inclusive society. A fair distribution of income, equal opportunities and good quality, accessible and affordable care, education and housing are prerequisites for an inclusive society.

The SER is independent

The SER is both substantively and financially independent. Although it was established by law, the SER is not a government institution. The SER is funded indirectly by industry through the General Unemployment Fund [Algemeen Werkloosheidsfonds] (Awf).

SER and the consultative economy

In the Netherlands, we want to achieve agreement on social and economic policy through consultation. This takes place at different levels. In companies, the Works Council consults with management. At industry level, trade unions negotiate with employers’ organisations regarding Collective Labour Agreements (CLAs). At the national level, there are the SER and the Labour Foundation [Stichting van de Arbeid] [link]. All these various types of consultation form part of the consultative economy.