[hackerspaces] legal entity

Koen Martens gmc at har2009.org
Fri Sep 11 19:15:50 CEST 2009

Hi All,

On Sat, Sep 05, 2009 at 03:45:26AM +0200, Jens Ohlig wrote:
> Am 05.09.2009 um 02:08 schrieb Lars Weiler:
>> For your concerns I suggest to concentrate on founding a
>> 'vereniging'.  So you can affiliate members, collect membership fees
>> and pay the rent or other things like an insurance.  But keep it as
>> simple as possible!  Just do the work you have to do.  Have a short
>> statute, elect a small board, have your (bi-)annual official meeting
>> and do your tax declaration.  Be very strict with these few tasks.
> Unlike Lars, I know next to nothing about Dutch law and my spoken Dutch 
> is practically non-existing. Ik vind het zelf jammer...
> Having said that, I have encountered the "Stichting" as a legal entity  
> at all the places where I would look for an inspiration, like the  
> organization that runs the Dutch hacker camps or De Digitale Stad in the 
> 1990s. Heck, even the CCC was described as a "Stichting" when  
> communicating with Dutch authorities. The German "Verein" is a very  
> specific thingy and I don't know if something quite like it exists  
> outside of Germany and Austria.
> I'd stress all the points Lars made and I would also look for a similar 
> organization whose legal structure/bylaws you can copy. Do everything the 
> law requires you and then forget about it. The structure of you 
> hackerspace shouldn't be dictated by whatever framework your national law 
> offers, in my humble opinion. Just meet the legal requirements and then 
> do your own thing.

Thanks for the useful comments. Reading it all, I think we want to have
a 'stichting' afterall: it is the minimal kind of legal entity that
satisfies the requirements for renting and all. A 'vereniging' (which is
in my experience very similar to the German verein) is basically a 
'stichting', except the members make the decisions, whereas the board
merely carries these out.

We'll have to figure out how to process membership fees in such a 
construction, but randomdata (Utrecht, NL) chose this structure
as well so i think we can learn from them.

Fish, anything to say on the subject?? I know you call the paying
members 'volunteers with rights' or something like that, but what
about the tax office. Do they see it like that as well, or do they
consider your members to be 'customers' and tax you for those fees?



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