This Dutch billionaire family will clear A THOUSAND families’ debts for years to come

But not everyone is happy... 💸

The billionaire Van der Vorm family from Rotterdam are paying off the debts of 1000 families in poverty every year for the next three years. Sounds generous, right? Well, not everyone is convinced.

Debt is piling up for around 15,000 families living in poverty in Rotterdam, and the Van der Vorms want to stand up for the suffering children, shares.

How exactly are they achieving this benevolence? Well, aside from having the booming bank account for it, they will rely on their own empire.

Who are the Van der Vorms?

Mysterious Martijn van der Vorm, the media-shy head of the family, built up the family’s global business empire in Monaco. 💸

The 61-year-old Dutchman’s family is estimated to be worth a total of €8.5 billion, mainly thanks to their huge investment company, HAL.

How does it work?

Families in Rotterdam with at least one child who have experienced challenging living circumstances in the past seven years are top of the list for the generous act.

They will not have to pay anything back, and anyone can register for it.

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Firstly, part of the family’s philanthropic institution will handle creditor negotiations. Then, Fonds de Loods, the Van der Vorm’s debt relief company, buys off the debt in one sweep.

The budget for this project has not been officially shared. However, the average cost of paying off all debts for one family is approximately €2,700, so that would mean a total of over €8 million.

Gratitude, but also attitude

The Van der Vorm generosity has come under fire for only offering a short-term fix for a much larger-scale social issue.

Godfried Engbersen, professor of sociology at Erasmus University, believes it promotes inequality because, “For some this is a lottery ticket, while others are left with debt,” he told

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And the problem is far from over, since “we have to be careful that we become increasingly dependent on private initiatives,” Engberson continues.

It’s less about questioning the initiative’s value and more about maintaining the government’s responsibility to prevent severe debt.

When the results of a study conducted in collaboration with the municipality are revealed, we’ll see how effective Van der Vorm’s project is.

How do you feel about this initiative? Do you agree with the criticism? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Feature Image:Freepik
Lottie Gale 🇬🇧
Lottie Gale 🇬🇧
Lottie joins DutchReview as an editorial intern after gaining a Bachelor’s in English from her native England. She continues to pursue all things literature in her MA Literature Today at Utrecht University. She is loving life here, and the ever-looming rainclouds often make it feel like a home from home. Lottie arrived to complete her studies and hone her writing skills — she’ll stay for the Dutch tranquility, tulips and tompouce.


  1. Hello Lottie,

    I really like Dutch review content. However, I only get to find the news on some social media platforms.

    I have a suggestion, nowadays on WhatsApp you’ve channels. It might be a good idea to create a Dutch Review channel. And also post this reviews there. This way, the new reviews will be one swipe away in WhatsApp.

    Kind regards,
    Anas Ijaz

  2. It’s a great idea but the people who benefit from their generosity should take a family finance class of sorts to avoid getting back into debt. Planning and saving are needed to avoid abject poverty. The Van der Voorms are well meaning and very generous. They deserve praise for the initiative but it needs more than just paying the bills.

  3. Geez . You want to help people. But somebody always has to be negative about it. It’s not enough , etc. you can’t ever win. And what is the professor doing to make life easier for others. Instead of pontificating from his University throne.

  4. There are three types of people:
    1. People that are totally on board with this initiative.
    2. People that hate it because they’re not part of it.
    3. People that don’t like it because they want to have something to bitch about, no matter what it is!!

  5. Well, the initiative sounds great. However, and I agree, this does not solve the root issues. Yes the lucky ones are rescued, for now, but how will their situation be in a few months? I believe he should start an agency that will guide the people to manage their funds. Thats a long term solution. Obviously, another long term solution are the actions of the government. The Netherlands is a rich country, there in absolutely no need for poverty. Thus miss financial management on government level is something to place under a loup. Where is every penny going, why, was it necessary, what are the consequences if they would not continue to spend for certain things? As for support to the 1000 people, if they really have 8 bln euro, and this project cost 8 mln, which surely will bring a tax benefit and thus cost are less, it is just a famous drop in a bucket. They easily could solve issues for all people living in extreme poverty not due to their own actions. Anyway, hope the family will sit with the government and look for a structural solution and spend the 8 or lets make it 80 or 100 mln, for that.

  6. What would be good are more billionaires like this. These are known as conscious Billionaires, they understand that things seem to be unequal, and are using their gained wealth to change this, to give back to the people in differing ways, including environmental projects to protect our planet. The just paying off debt may not be an ideal method but at least they are doing something about it.

  7. Besef wel dat deze familie er alles aan gelegen was om de fiscus te omzeilen met allerlei dubieuze constructies. Dan komt het toch in een ander daglicht te staan.


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