The focus in welfare state support in the Netherlands has been shifted from workfare and activation policies to social investment strategies. The discourse on basic income and the related municipal experiments highlights this shift. We address the inspiration found in basic income and behavioural economic and motivational psychological theoretical insights for the design of the experiments and for new avenues of minimum income protection and providing participation opportunities for the disadvantaged. The emerging new paradigm also implies a shift in the cultural values and principles on which welfare state policies are implicitly founded. This means that in these endeavours particular social values are put more upfront, such as personal autonomy (capacitating people by providing opportunities and therewith ‘free choice’) and trust (activating people by putting trust in their self-management capacities) which in day-to-day policy practice means more tailor-made, demand-oriented integrated mediation and coaching while rewarding people instead of penalising them.