Netspar contributes to the continuous improvement of the possibilities for financing the old age in the Netherlands.

We do this by:

  • Network development,
  • Formulating and executing scientific research programs, including sharing knowledge with other countries, and
  • A related program for disseminating and transferring knowledge within the Netherlands.

Vision: Social Innovation

The network aims to serve as an example of how public and private parties in the service sector can work together with researchers in the social sciences to promote social innovation in an efficient and mutually beneficial manner. In addition, Netspar also has a particular interest in promoting the research and development capacity of the pension industry.

Ambition: Authoritative and Innovative

Netspar aims to be an authoritative, innovative leader in the field of retirement financing. This is supported by another underlying ambition: to strengthen international contacts by gaining recognition as a knowledge network and engaging in international research and knowledge transfer partnerships.

Key Values: Independent, Accessible, and Open

Netspar upholds the key values of being independent, accessible for newcomers, and open to dialogue and interaction with stakeholders. It recognizes the value of all sorts of knowledge, from a broad range of disciplines, and of methodical approaches. The network does not take a particular position in policy issues but is dedicated, instead, to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pension systems and retirement. It works toward the productive dissemination of unbiased research output among policymakers, professionals, and managers and administrators at financial institutions, as well as in the academic community.

“There is a lot going on in the pension world. The issues are more complex. That’s why I think it’s important that there’s a Netspar, that pensions do not just look like a product, but complement the discussion and offer a broader look to, for example, care and living. In addition, Netspar intersects the more controversial topics, such as customization and choice. That is incredibly important.”
Hedda Rennooij


Netspar has drawn up an that is set by the partners and informed in part by evaluations it conducted. In addition to a Research Agenda, the Action Plan comprises a strategy with six directions for action:

  • Putting the needs of individuals in old age front and center
  • Bringing in a greater diversity of disciplines as demanded by the lines of research
  • Stronger links, greater accessibility, greater applicability
  • Building affiliations with prominent, signature researchers
  • Targeted knowledge-sharing with other countries to enhance the debate in the Netherlands
  • Sustainable funding, uncomplicated execution

Putting the needs of individuals in old age front and center
The emphasis is shifting to focus more on the individual – people’s behavior, the difficulty of making decisions about old age, and the risks people run (micro level). At the same time, we will continue to address the fundamental issues facing pension systems (at the macro level). Taking individual circumstances as a starting point requires a comprehensive vision of financing retirement that places people themselves and the uncertainties of old age front and center.

Bringing in a greater diversity of disciplines as demanded by the lines of research
In order to adopt a comprehensive vision of financing for retirement, it must be viewed together with other major issues underpinning old age: employment, housing, spending patterns, and elder care. This implies explicitly including “soft” behavioral issues and communications in the Netspar program, along with the “hard” financial/economic issues. As relevant, then, valuable input from other scientific disciplines (e.g., sociology, psychology, law, and communications) must be incorporated into policy relevant research.

Stronger links, greater accessibility, greater applicability
Netspar plays a pivotal role in the national pension debate by serving as a neutral platform and by furnishing foundational components, uniting divergent visions, and elucidating the choices without taking a standpoint. Based on a thorough understanding of the latest scientific research, Netspar develops scenarios and offers insight into the advantages and disadvantages of alternative solutions through targeted, quantitative analysis. Its contribution to the debate is made all the more effective by communicating the results of that research in a comprehensible manner to a broader public of pension professionals, thus more explicitly highlighting the applicability of the research results.

Building affiliations with prominent, signature researchers
The effectiveness of the network is founded on the quality of its research. In terms of boosting Netspar’s visibility in the pension debate, it is crucial that renowned lead researchers from various disciplines be given a more active role in positioning the network. This will entail concentrating research funds as needed to attract prominent senior researchers, in other words signature researchers, to Netspar, as well as to avoid fragmentation. Since the research also has to remain accessible to a larger group of researchers, this will require being selective in terms of the size of the research grants.

Targeted knowledge-sharing with other countries to enhance the debate in the Netherlands
Existing international networks will be intensified by establishing the ISPAR academic network and expanding partnerships with European researchers under the Horizon 2020 program. The primary objective is to foster an exchange of knowledge in order to bolster the Dutch pension debate and learn from one another.

Sustainable funding, uncomplicated execution
Securing the continuity of knowledge development and sharing, as well as the special network function, will require structural financial support from today’s partners and the government. Netspar continues to work toward further simplifying its governance structure and operations so that it can control costs into the future. The network is also actively seeking new partners and research funding from throughout Europe.

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.


Mission en strategy           •           Network           •           Organisation           •          Magazine
Netspar Brief            •            Actionplan 2015-2019           •           Researchagenda


Our partners

B20160708_university of groningen
B20160708_universiteit utrecht
View all partners