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Welcome to the website of the project ‘Self-employed without personnel: between freedom and insecurity’, a scientific research project about advantages and risks related to the rise in solo self-employment in Germany and the Netherlands.

Project background

While self-employment has long been associated primarily with agriculture (e.g. farmers) or trade (e.g. shopkeepers) recent growth in self-employment can be found in quite different occupations and sectors. The new self-employed without personnel are coaches, public relations officers, interim managers, bricklayers, carpenters, lorry drivers or home care workers. Many of these new self-employed without personnel appreciate their position, although some feel forced and find it hard to make a proper living, especially during the current economic crisis. How do self-employed without personnel deal with their insecure position. Why have they decided to become self-employed? And how do they prepare for the future? Our research project aims at providing evidence based insights with respect to advantages and risks of the growth of the number of self-employed without personnel in Germany and the Netherlands.


Conference on Solo self-employment, 1 July 2016, Utrecht, the Netherlands

On Friday 1st of July 2016 we organised the final conference of the German-Dutch project “Self-employed without personnel: between freedom and insecurity". During this day, we shared and discussed our project results as well as provided a platform to discuss solo self-employment research beyond the project's borders. National and international scholars in our field, policy makers, trade union members and solo self-employed were all present during this day. This event took place in Utrecht University Hall, Utrecht, the Netherlands. 

The programme of the day is now available online.

The presentations of the speakers can be downloaded by clicking on the title of the contribution in the programme below.

The final report of the project will be published online soon.

For more information, please contact Wieteke Conen at W.S.Conen@uu.nl.


10h30       Arrival, welcome with coffee and tea

11h00       Welcome by prof.dr. Joop Schippers (Utrecht University)

11h10       Welcome by dr. Karin Schulze Buschoff (WSI)

11h15       Social security provisions, by prof. dr. Uwe Fachinger (University of Vechta)

11h45       Self-employed without personnel: between freedom and insecurity: project results, by dr. Wieteke Conen (Utrecht University)

12h15       Discussion

12h30       Lunch

13h30       Self-employment: independent ‘enterprise’, or precarious low-skilled work? The case of the UK, by mr. Nigel Meager (Director Institute for Employment Studies)

14h00       Free-riders or Outsiders: Why Don’t Self-employed Workers Join Interest Organizations?, by dr. Giedo Jansen (University of Twente)

14h30       Discussion

14h45       Tea/ coffee break

15h15       Social protection for the self-employed, a legal perspective, by prof. dr. Mies Westerveld (University of Amsterdam)

15h45       The New Rise of Self-Employment and How to Interpret: Challenges and Contradictions, by prof. dr. Dieter Bögenhold (Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt)

16h15       Discussion

16h30       Keynote address by Mariëtte Patijn (FNV, Member of the Executive Committee and Coordinator Terms of Employment)

16h45       Closing of the conference

17h00       End of meeting, drinks