Polder Model

“God created the world but the Dutch created Holland”

-           Popular Dutch saying

A ‘polder’ is a section of land developed after dikes have been built around a marsh or lake and the water has been pumped out. Windmills were once used for this process but have been replaced by motorised pumps. The ‘Polder Model’ is a term now used around the world to mean a system of consultation and working together to reach consensus – first used in the Netherlands by the water boards of the 17th century who cooperated with each other during floods – and sometimes called ‘the politics of wet feet’.

At DutchCare, we use the term ‘Polder Model’ for our award-winning care model. It was introduced as a response to the shortage of registered nurses. The Polder Model focuses on skills rather than on position, and empowers Personal Care Workers and Enrolled Nurses to undertake tasks traditionally done only by Registered Nurses. The focus moves away from illness and the medical model, to one of wellness and home or ‘what I can still do’.