People who have debts are often embroiled in a complex situation. In order to really help them, specific knowledge and skills are a necessity. In the interest of further developing professional practice, the Research group Debt and Debt Collection conducts research in collaboration with debt counselling organisations and collection agencies.

Lines of research within the research group

Everyone should be able to participate in society. Debts form an obstacle to peoples’ ability to participate in the labour market, social life and other activities. The fewer people with debt, the better.

This line of research focuses on the prevention of debt. Our aim is to determine which preventive measures are most successful in preventing debt and to develop new methods for prevention and early detection.


Financial problems affect how we function in daily life. Persistent concerns about money preoccupy and paralyse peoples’ minds. They tend to live day by day, have difficulty taking action or struggle to regulate their emotions and desires.

In order to properly help such people, it is extremely important that organisations that provides debt relief services are sensitive to such stress factors. With this type of service provision, attention needs to be given to the disruptive effect of persistent stress. This will facilitate people in reaching their goals quicker. The research group takes a broad approach in the study of these stress-sensitive services.

Debts can be confounded and worsened by complicated regulations. Both debtors and social workers have to deal with complex laws and regulations. What exactly do the legal frameworks look like? And what effects do they have on the practice of debt counselling?

This is the central theme of this line of research. Our research is concerned with the effect of legislation on the approach to tackling debt and debt collection. Together with the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA), we compiled a report that exposes the legal bottlenecks in the approach to tackling debt.

What are the necessary knowledge and skills that a debt counselling professional needs to acquire to have a real impact through their work? In this line of research, we take a close look at craftsmanship within the field of debt and debt collection.

With the insights derived from our research, both current and future HPE professionals will be able to work on their professional development.





The Research group Debt and Debt Collection strives to substantiate higher professional education in the field of debt in various ways. We contribute to the development of modules and lessons, provide training to lecturers and design teaching materials. We also work together with other universities of applied sciences.

Tamara Madern

“In recent years, there has been this idea that counsellors should be patient and wait things out. Fortunately, debt counselling is increasingly coming to the realisation that this does not work. One must begin by offering concrete assistance. Only then will people begin to take matters into their own hands.”

Tamara Madern at Professor of Debt and Debt Collection


The research group works closely with professional practice. For our research projects, we collaborate with, among others: Branchevereniging voor schuldhulpverlening en sociaal bankieren (The Association for debt counselling and social banking, NVVK), Royal Professional Organization of Judicial Officers in The Netherlands external link (KBvG), Kennisplatform Utrecht Sociaal, Nationaal Instituut Budgetvoorlichting (The National Institute for Budget Information) (Nibud), Municipalities and municipal organisations such as Utrecht, Werk and Inkomen Lekstroom, Avres, Drechtsteden, Zwolle and Divosa.

Our professors and researchers

Nadja Jungmann

Professor Debt and Debt Collection Show profile
Tamara Madern | Professor | Debt and Debt Collection

Tamara Madern

Professor Debt and Debt Collection Show profile
Gercoline van Beek | Researcher / PhD candidate | Working with Mandated Clients and Debt and Debt Collection

Gercoline van Beek

Researcher Debt and Debt Collection, Working with Mandated Clients Show profile
Amber Bolk | PhD candidate | Debt and Debt Collection

Amber Bolk

PhD candidate Debt and Debt Collection Show profile

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