“Continuing to meet each other”


2020 was an exceptional year in all respects. The implementation of the pension agreement was completed, Netspar celebrated its 15th anniversary and the Netherlands was faced by a pandemic. The first event involved hard work and calculations. The second event was modestly celebrated. The third event overshadowed everything.

Early on last year, and out of sheer necessity, Netspar rigorously switched from analog and on site, to online and from home. With a positive impact. The number of participants in short events where research findings are discussed increased. Partners are now requesting us to continue these online events even after the coronavirus pandemic. It turned out that networking, one of Netspar’s core functions, required more inventiveness online. Short events, pointed research questions and small-scale, interactive discussion tables provided a solution. And as long as online meetings remain prevalent, it will require smart solutions to keep the network function, which is so important for Netspar, firmly rooted.

In September 2020, Marike Knoef succeeded Casper van Ewijk. An appointment which received wide support from partners and the Supervisory Board. The new director’s focus includes acquisition and creating a broader base for existing partners. In 2020, the renewal of MN’s partnership was effected and the decision-making process at the rail and public transport pension fund, Rail&OV, about joining Netspar was completed. Netspar’s visibility is also an important objective for the director. Netspar researchers increased their media appearances in 2020 and both the podcast series and the one pagers, the one-page research summaries, were also introduced in 2020.

Wouter Bos
Voorzitter Raad van Toezicht

More than one million euros were again allocated to new research in 2020. New to that was the additional funding for long-term research made possible through Instituut Gak (Foundation Institute Gak). The collaboration with ClickNL, top consortium for the creative sector, shows that Netspar knows how to successfully tap into additional sources for financing science.

Composition and agenda of the Supervisory Board

Bianca Teteroo and the undersigned joined the Supervisory Board in January 2020 and February 2020 respectively, following the appointments by the Foundation Board. At the end of 2020, a longstanding vacancy was filled by the appointment of Roos Vermeij effective January 1, 2021. At that time, Roos was Director at Pensioenfonds PME, however, she unexpectedly became an alderman in Rotterdam in February 2021. In consultation with Roos, the decision has been made that she will make her position available again as soon as a new Supervisory Board member has been found with links to the pension world.

The Supervisory Board has held three meetings. The 2019 fall meeting, that had been postponed, took place in February and aimed at adopting the work plan and the 2020 budget, discussing the recommendations for future financing and the adjustment of the criteria for the academic partnership. The agenda for April focused on the appointment of a new director, the impact of coronavirus, the annual statement of accounts, partner arrangements and the vacancy to be filled for the Supervisory Board. The regular fall meeting in October discussed the work plan and budget for 2021, the details of the pension agreement, the status of the coronavirus research, the sustainability of funding, which included both recommendations of the strategic committee and acquisition, and the maximum terms of office of the director, as well as the retirement schedule for the Supervisory Board.

Agenda and composition of the Foundation Board

The Foundation Board met twice online. The meeting in April focused on the 2019 annual statement of accounts, the impact of coronavirus and the action plan following the recommendations of the strategic committee, partner arrangements and acquisition. The fall meeting in September concentrated on the work program and the budget for 2021, the sustainability of funding, the current status of three short-term research projects into pension and coronavirus and elaboration questions regarding the pension agreement. Both meetings discussed the retirement schedule.

In December, the Foundation Board unanimously agreed to the appointment of Roos Vermeij as Member of the Supervisory Board, effective January 1, 2021.

And finally: thank you

In September 2020, Casper van Ewijk was succeeded as director, but Casper will continue to be associated as a researcher. In his role as director, Casper managed to gain support for adequate pension research even in economically challenging times. Research that is considered authoritative, specialist and implementation-oriented, according to the most recent evaluations of the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and the partners from 2018. More emphasis has been placed on the pension participant as well as on a broadening of disciplines beyond economics. These are important ingredients for Netspar’s future continuity.

Building our network and meeting one another have always been building blocks for Netspar’s success. It is not yet done as we would prefer at the time of writing, but fortunately we also see at Netspar that it inspires new creativity. So, whether online or once again in person, we will continue to strive to enable meetings between everyone who matters in the pension debate in the coming year. This is how we add value to science, and how we increase the quality of and the support for being well-informed. I thank everyone who built on this together with us.

We hope to be able to count on our partners again in 2021. That will be an important year. After all, in 2021, Netspar will prepare a new work program, including research agenda, for the period 2023-2027 with input from researchers and the sector partners. We also count on everyone’s talent, energy and inspiration!

Wouter Bos
Chair of the Supervisory Board

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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