Inclusive, digital and learning City – closed


Amsterdam is growing and has enjoyed positive economic growth in recent years. Unfortunately, this favourable development is not benefitting everyone equally, with clear contrasts between different societal groups. The most vulnerable Amsterdam citizens (low-literate people, low-educated people, people living below the poverty line) are not benefitting, or are benefitting less. The high cost of living sometimes even forces them to leave the city. Problems can accumulate for these groups: social isolation, debt issues, unemployment, health issues, parenting issues, stress, aggression, and so on. Many of them remain at the fringe of society, and yet the City is dedicated to being an inclusive city that all residents feel themselves to be a part of.

Technological developments are deepening societal divisions. People in vulnerable socio-economic positions sometimes have too little digital literacy to use the internet and other digital resources to help improve their position; for instance by applying for facilities online or by searching for cost-free activities in the neighbourhood. Instead, they must depend on the support of care givers. People who are comfortable with, and skilled in using the internet and other digital resources have a clear advantage in society. People who lack this familiarity are at a greater risk of falling behind in an increasingly digital world.

The City offers various programmes in the areas of language, arithmetic and digital skills for this target group. With its adult education programme, the City aims to promote lifelong learning. Yet experience shows that the most vulnerable residents – our specifically intended target group – are difficult to find, to reach, to motivate and to activate. This challenge demands innovative solutions; firstly, to reach this target group, and then to motivate and stimulate them to start a learning process.


The Challenge

Develop an innovative solution to reach vulnerable Amsterdam residents (low-literate, low-educated, low-income people) and to teach them basic skills (in language, arithmetic, computer and internet, and/or financial management).


  • The solution must target the most vulnerable Amsterdam residents (low-literate/low-educated people, people living in poverty, and people with no or hardly any digital skills);
  • The effects of the solution must be measurable. The solution is person-centred so that every individual can use it at his/her own level;
  • The solution should preferably use ‘nudging’ strategies and elements of play to help the users practice their skills, and to motivate them to continue learning. Volunteers can be trained to assist them.

Issued by: Armoedebestrijding, Volwassenen Educatie & de Amsterdam Economic Board.