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Voluntary Ecological Year

The Voluntary Ecological Year (FÖJ) is an ecological education year that gives young people the chance to work for one year in environmental protection and nature conservation and to orient themselves. This year, the state of Lower Saxony is providing 258 places for this purpose, which are spread over around 200 recognised deployment sites between the Harz Mountains and the North Sea.

Making a FÖJ means

  • Meaningful commitment to environmental protection and nature conservation
  • acquire important know-how in five seminars and exchange ideas with other volunteers
  • get a taste of "green" professions,
  • check your own ideas and develop your own ideas.

The concrete tasks

  • are based on the respective circumstances of your place of employment.

The FÖJ in Lower Saxony

  • starts on 1 September, for the FÖJ at all-day schools already on 1 August and
  • wants to promote the voluntary commitment of young people.

Participants will receive:

  • free accommodation and/or meals at numerous deployment sites,
  • pocket money. The amount of pocket money depends on whether the placement site provides accommodation and/or meals (155.00 euros, 180.00 euros or 190.00 euros pocket money) or only pays the pocket money (235.00 euros pocket money),
  • Social security coverage (health, pension, nursing care, unemployment and accident insurance),
  • free participation in the FÖJ seminars,
  • necessary work clothes and tools are provided by the place of use,
  • a working week of 38.5 hours,
  • 26 working days of vacation per year.

And also other social benefits:

  • fare reduction on season tickets in local transport (just like for trainees),
  • Orphan's pension continues to be granted,
  • Recognition by the ZVS: Confirmation of study places before or during the FÖJ will be retained.

For parents:

  • granting of family allowances if the child's total income in the calendar year in question does not exceed the applicable allowance,
  • Child allowance for income tax.

The participants contribute:

  • openness towards the interests of environmental protection and nature conservation and development policy work,
  • Willingness to work together in a team and
  • at the end of the FÖJ a report on the experiences made during the year.

Who should I contact?

The responsibility lies with the respective institution. The Alfred Toepfer Academy for Nature Conservation (NNA) is responsible for the Voluntary Ecological Year (FÖJ) within the portfolio of the Lower Saxony Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Climate Protection.


The FÖJ is aimed at all those who have attended a general education school for at least nine years (§ 66 Lower Saxony School Act [NSchG]) and have not yet reached the age of 27. The obligation to attend a vocational school is suspended for the duration of the FÖJ (§§ 67 and 70 NSchG). Assuming this, you can be active at the FÖJ for twelve months at a deployment site.

Which documents are required?

Documents may be required. Please contact the competent authority.

What are the fees?

There are no fees.

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

Deadlines must be observed. Please contact the competent authority.

Applications / forms

Applications can be submitted informally directly to the competent authority.

What else should I know?

Further information about the FÖJ in Lower Saxony can be found on the website of the Alfred Toepfer Academy for Nature Conservation (NNA) and in the portal "" of the Lower Saxony Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Equality.

Technically approved by

Lower Saxony Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Climate Protection


The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

competent Bodies

Alfred Toepfer Akademie für Naturschutz (NNA)
Address: Am Flugplatz 16, 31137 Hildesheim
Telephone: +49 5121 509-763
Fax: +49 5121 509-787

Data protection information

Landesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz Niedersachsen
Address: Prinzenstraße 5, 30159 Hannover
Telephone: +49 511 12045-00
Fax: +49 511 12045-99

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)