• Lack of services,
  • Lack of infrastructure


  • Combining village meeting points with virtual desks for services and amenities


  • Money
  • Ownership


  • Description process
  • Training program

Problems and challenges

virtual office 1

In contemporary rural areas there is an urgent need for finding new solutions for the problem of basic service delivery. This is especially the case in areas characterized by

low  population densities, shrinking and ageing population, combined with long distances and / or groups of less mobile people (elderly). The challenge is to improve the service provision by using ICT solutions.

The advent of the internet has enabled virtual connections by means of video conferencing. The main goal of this project was to reintroduce amenities by using video conference. This could benefit especially the elderly people in villages living at a relative large distance from larger villages. Since this category of people is less familiar using internet, the challenge was to create a spot at a central place in the village, where villagers could skype with service providers with the help of volunteers.


In a small village in Northeast Fryslan, Twijzelerheide,  a virtual office was installed.

The inhabitants of Twijzelerheide could go to the virtual office  for certain services, instead of travelling to the town hall in Buitenpost, located at a distance of 10 km. The service desk Social Services of  the  municipality Achtkarspelen and the Police was connected to Twijzelheide by the virtual office.

By housing the virtual office in the building of the social support center, the village received a service point, which could reinforce the diversity of services in Twijzelerheide.

The service point, including the virtual office,  was run by volunteers and unemployed as part of a reintegration project.virtual office 2


The number of visitors depends on the number of services offered. In this case there were insufficient service providers involved (one department of the municipality Achtkarspelen, and the Police). For service providers a larger scale is needed to make a good return on their investments. Unfortunately, the project didn't succeed attracting more service providers.

Besides, there were some technical problems, such as the insufficient internet speed (up and download). The solution was construction of a glass fibre connection.


Project documents: - project plan - description of working processes - training program for employees of the service provider