Are you curious about the incredible social innovators we have here in the Netherlands? Keep reading and learn more about our Dutch Ashoka Fellows!

Our first fellow was selected in 2009 already, and we are proud to say that in the past few years, we have managed to grow our fellow base quite a bit. The Dutch community of fellows now consists of 10 incredible Changemakers, and we are looking always on the lookout for new innovators to join and help our community grow!




Dennis Karpes

Ashoka Fellow since 2009

Committed to creating a future world where ever more citizens are willing and prepared to play an active role in solving social problems, Dennis is leads by example. An Ashoka Fellow since 2009, he was elected for his work with Dance4Life.

Dance4Life is harnesses the energy and entrepreneurship of hundreds of thousands of young people around the world, inspiring them to take action in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and more broadly, for social change. This critical mass has already dramatically shifted the image and experience of youth in 20 countries and will, in the years to come, deeply redefine the youth years around the world.

Dennis is a serial-social entrepreneur, who had initiated countless projects prior to his fellowship election with Ashoka, and many more since. His most recent endeavour is called Justdiggit




Lucas Simons

Ashoka Fellow since 2012

Lucas’s passion and solid background in the field of sustainable development led him to build the successful ScopeInsight initiative, for which he was elected as an Ashoka Fellow. By creating a tool for rating and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of medium-sized agricultural producer groups, Lucas is able to form a common language and standard of information enabling previously disparate stakeholders to communicate and increasing access to financial products for the agricultural sector. Through Scopeinsight, Lucas provides direct and tangible information to farmers, pinpointing their strengths and identifying areas for improvement.




Jos de Blok

Ashoka Fellow since 2015

Dissatisfied with the delivery of health care by traditional home-care organizations in the Netherlands, Jos decided to create a new model anchored on the self-management capacity of nursing professionals, ultimately resulting to a more responsive, patient-centric system giving better quality care. In the long run, the model enables the patient to maintain independence from costly institutionalized care.

His model has become widely successful in the Netherlands and is scaling to numerous different countries. In 2014 Jos received The Albert Medal of the Royal Society of Arts (UK), following Marie (Madam) Curie, Stephen Hawking, and the likes, for his work as founder of Buurtzorg, a transformational new model of community health care.




Noa Lodeizen

Ashoka fellow since 2015

Noa was elected as a fellow for her work with one of the organisations that she founded: Young in Prison. Young in Prison (YiP), is an international network of YiP member organizations that work towards changing the way the world perceives juvenile justice and carries out juvenile reformation. Understanding that youth offenders are in a vital period of development in their lives, YiP works on giving real opportunities of rehabilitation and social reintegration.

Currently, Noa is not only a team member of the Dutch Ashoka office, she runs numerous other initiatives and keeps system-change at the heart of everything she does.




Joost van Engen

Ashoka Fellow since 2016

Joost’s first encounter with the social business concept through the initiative “Dare to be Fair.” He worked with them for 3 years, ensuring that cotton farmers in Mali were able to gain fair wages in producing environmentally safe cotton for online stores. His commitment to aid grew when he took a job at the IDA foundation, providing essential drugs and medical supplies to NGO;s and government in 139 countries. However fulfilling, he found the job to be equally frustrating, when medicine did not reach those who were in despearate need. This happened all too frequently. To solve this problem, he founded Healthy Entrepreneurs.

By innovating a truly sustainable supply chain including the last-mile that is independent of national healthcare systems, Joost van Engen is creating sustainable access to essential medicines, hygiene products and supplements for low income families in remote areas, while at the same time providing health education and basic health consultation, contributing to the quality of their day-to-day lives, specifically for those in remote areas in low and middle income countries.




Bas van Abel

Ashoka Fellow since 2016

An artist, who combines hard skills such as mathematics, scientific thinking, and programming with very playful and creative approach to life while still having far reaching pragmatic capabilities in his enterprising, Bas has managed to market a product that tells a significant story.

By designing and producing the first modular designed, and thus longer lasting, smartphone, building a conflict free and fair supply and production chain, Bas van Abel with his company Fairphone is creating a movement of ethical consumption while shifting the smartphone industry -one of the most complex supply chains- towards ethical production and complete transparency, fueling change instead of conflict.





Emer Beamer

Ashoka fellow since 2017

As Emer likes to say: “Children are the last frontier of emancipation”. She devotes her work to children, to show them they are important, deserving attention and to be taken seriously. She strongly believes that education should therefore show children that their ideas have value. Not only will this allow them to find their place in the world as they develop, it also forces adults to reflect on themselves and how they shape their world.

With her Designathon Works learning method grounded on design thinking the child is understood as a complete human being endowed with great creative capacity, Emer Beamer enables teachers to tap into the natural space of play within a child and among children, to stimulate their interest and engagement in social issues, and challenging them to design solutions for these issues within the context of their formal education curriculum using modern technology.




Barbara Muller

Ashoka Fellow since 2017

Barbara is dedicated to the development of a secure attachment bond between primary caregivers (mothers or fathers) and babies at risk of not growing up in a secure and safe environment.By offering support in building a strong emotionalrelationship between parent and child and working towards a safe and independent future, she contributes in giving children a better start in life.




Geert van der Veer

Ashoka Fellow since 2017With his Herenboeren movement Geert is putting the use of farm land backintothe hands of local communities, using a model of collective ownership and management,which by restoring people͛s relationship with that land, serves as the basis of an alternative system for foodproduction, which respects animals, cooperates with nature, and revitalizes the soil all while offering a tangible platform for driving agricultural dialogue and innovation.




Aart van Veller

 Ashoka Fellow since 2017

Aart is a leading example of innovation in action. He has revolutionised the consumption of renewable energy, empowering both consumers and producers by establashing an alternative to the traditional system, making green energy accessible and affordable to everyone. His company Vandebron was chosen as the number 1 energy company by the Dutch Association for Consumers. They are growing exponentially, and they are doing it well!




This article was originally published on 14 December 2017
Related TopicsBusiness & Social Enterprise Social enterprise

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