Short Summary

Buurtzorg Nederland is a Dutch homecare company that is internationally renowned for its innovative use of independent and self-guided nurse teams who deliver high-quality care at relatively low cost. Their slogan is "Humanity over bureaucracy." Buurtzorg is Dutch for “neighborhood care."

Website: www.buurtzorg.com

Location: Netherlands-based, but active in 25 countries

Founder: Jos de Blok

Buurtzorg Logo. source


Buurtzorg began in the small Dutch city of Almelo in 2006. It was founded by Jos de Blok along with a small team of professional nurses who were dissatisfied with the delivery of health care by traditional home care organizations in the Netherlands.

Jos de Blok, who had been a nurse for 16 years, explained why he founded Buurtzorg:

I was very critical about the way our job was organized. Quality was getting worse and worse, the client’s satisfaction was decreasing and the expenses were increasing. (source)
In 2016, 10 years after it was founded, some 9,000 Buurtzorg nurses were providing medical and support care, including dressing and bathing, to around 100,000 patients throughout the Netherlands. In most public or private systems, the latter services are delegated to lesser-trained and cheaper personnel, but at Buurtzorg nurse teams handle a wide range of services.

A team of Buurtzorg nurses. source

There are no managers or team leaders. Self-governing teams of 10–12 highly trained nurses take equal responsibility for the home care of 50–60 patients in a given neighborhood.

Buurtzorg's distinctive system of care is an integrated package of six sequential components that cannot be delivered separately (source):

  1. Assess the client’s needs. The assessment is holistic and includes medical issues, long term outlook, and personal/social needs. On the basis of the resulting information, an individual care plan is drafted.
  2. Map networks of informal care and involve relevant people in care. This includes such proactive steps as knocking on neighbors' doors to solicit their assistance.
  3. Identify and include formal carers.
  4. Care delivery.
  5. Support the client in his/her social roles.
  6. Promote self-care and independence

It works: an Ernst & Young study concluded that Buurtzorg nurses spend 40% less time for patient's visits than prescribed by doctors, while reducing emergency room visits by 30%. According to a KMPG study (January 2015), Buurtzorg has the most satisfied workforce of any Dutch company with more than 1,000 employees.

Friends & Partners

  • Amstelring Wijkzorg, an Amstelveen, Holland-based nursing care company
  • Ashoka, an organization that identifies leading social entrepreneurs to provide them with support and draw/share lessons from their ideas
  • Apple — "BurtzoorgWeb is used by over 10,000 nurses on their iPads. New applications are in development with Apple."
  • List of international partners


Buurtzorg is an organization that combines commons-based self-organization with market exchange, to the extent that state payments constitute a "market." This makes it a kind of hybrid.

See Also

  • Cornerstone, a Scottish organization providing support to the disabled community, and which is also committed to organization based on self-managing teams
  • Wellbeing Teams, a social care organization modeled after Buurtzorg and based in England