[hackerspaces] legal entity

Koen Martens gmc at metro.cx
Sat Sep 5 00:44:14 CEST 2009

Hi all,

The last few days, we have been contemplating the sort of legal entity
to use for revspace in Den Haag, NL. Basically, we have here in the
Netherlands two possibilities: a 'stichting' and a 'vereniging'. The
latter is roughly equivalent i believe to a german 'verein': it is a
legal entity with members. The members form the highest authority in this
kind of entity, there is a board though that acts as the daily management
and answers to the members.

A 'stichting' is basically an entity that consists of the board, and nothing
else. A 'stichting' does not have members (can not have members). I think this
is comparable to the german 'stiftung', although i'm not entirely sure of that.

The difficulty is in judging what is right. On the one hand, the democratic
principle of a 'vereniging' is very much compatible with my idea of how a
hackerspace should operate. However, a 'stichting' is a safer keeper of things
like money and equipment. This might be especially relevant if said money and
equipment are injected by external parties. However, the 'stichting' can not
have members, thus there is no 'membership fee': any money asked for usage
of the facilities will to the tax office look very much like an entrance fee
for a commercial service.

Now, what i intend with this email is satisfy my curiosity how other hackerspaces
have solved this. On the wiki, I found some documents relating to the situation
in the US, which seems to be very different from the situation in our country.

I'm curious how, for example, German hackerspaces have done this. What choices did
they make, and how did that work out? Experiences either good or bad? Perhaps other
countries have a similar distinction? Any input would be much appreciated!


Koen (gmc)

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