[hackerspaces] legal entity

fish at smurfer.net fish at smurfer.net
Sat Sep 12 09:58:28 CEST 2009

Hey Koen,

the tax office is still on our list to get a confirmation about our  
Basically our idea is to create a foundation (stichting) with the goal  
that supports and facilitates our hacker community.
In that way we can even do more then running a space but our primary  
goal is to support the community with the space.

With the "foundation" setup you aren't allowed to have members, that's  
why we are calling our members supporters.
In our by-laws we will add a part that supporters have the right to  
use the space and facility's.

Something we have to take care of is the way the supporters can have a  
We will define a commission (typical Dutch ;-) who is responsible for  
the input of the community.
They will advice the board of the foundation how the community can be  
supported in what way.

I think it's an idea to add this subject to the list of the Brucon  
Hackerspaces meetup to have some live discussion about it.


On 11 sep 2009, at 19:15, Koen Martens wrote:

> 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?
> Gr,
> Koen
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