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‘Open by Design’ Pilots (NL0033)



Action Plan: Netherlands Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active


Lead Institution: Rijk aan Informatie programme

Support Institution(s): • Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, confirmed • Municipality of Bodegraven-Reeuwijk, confirmed • Dutch National Archives (advice regarding sustainable accessibility), confirmed • Province of Zuid-Holland (tbc) • Municipality of Utrecht (tbc) • ILT (tbc) • Other ministries, provinces, municipalities • Instituut Maatschappelijke Innovatie (Institute for Social Innovation) (advice and coordination) • Open State Foundation

Policy Areas

E-Government, Open Data, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: Pending IRM Review

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Pending IRM Review

Relevant to OGP Values: Pending IRM Review

Potential Impact: Pending IRM Review

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review


‘Open by Design’ pilots
Start and end dates of the action point: 1 July 2018 - 30 June 2020
Main action owner (organisation) Rijk aan Informatie programme
Description of the action point
Which social issue does the action point seek to address? A lot of government information was already openly available in the Netherlands in 2018. But at the same time, there is much more government information that could be made publicly available without any problem. However, practical considerations prevent this information from being made public now.
This is a problem since the public availability of government information is considered to be a democratic obligation. Information that is financed by public funds should in principle also be available to the public. Citizens are entitled to see what is done with their tax money, which rules apply, what policy is initiated, which permits are granted, and what the government does.

Furthermore, government information is an important resource that new products or services can be based on and it thus makes a contribution to the economy and to innovation.

Active openness can also contribute to pushing back costly and time-intensive requests under the Dutch Open Government Act (Wet Openbaarheid van Bestuur - WOB).

And finally, if government information is openly available, this will contribute to the possibilities to monitor government actions, thus preventing waste. Making information publicly available enables benchmarking and comparing the performance of different authorities.

Active openness should therefore be arranged at the start of the primary process: ‘Open by Design’. If active openness remains confined to the ‘ex post’ earmarking of a number of documents or datasets that are suited to actively being made openly available, the extent and topicality of these documents and this data will always be limited. This will lead to extra work, arbitrariness, and greatly outdated files.
What is the action point? To achieve proper access to government information, it is important that openness and open standards are taken into consideration as much as possible when designing information systems. In order to establish what this means for information systems, experience will have to be gathered through a number of pilots. Open standards, open formats for reusability, meta data and linked data for findability and cohesion, privacy, security and accessibility are aspects that come into play here.

Some five to ten government organisations are therefore going to start pilots with ‘Open by Design’, where the openness of some categories of information is controlled and fine-tuned in the ‘engine room of public administration’.

How will the action point contribute to remedying the social issue? Citizens, companies and community organisations will get up-to-date information about various subjects, e.g. permits, government performance, financial information, research reports. Sharing knowledge and information will put other parties in a better position to develop policy alternatives or build new apps (similar to the Buienradar weather forecast app, but then for applications concerning safety and security, education, healthcare, sustainability, parking, etc.).

Steps for the individual pilots:

1. Intake, go or no go
2. Exploration of information categories. Which categories of government information are suitable for 'open by design'? Identify 1-3 categories for a pilot.
3. Quick scan of technical options. Which technical routes are possible in terms of system requirements? How to deal with privacy and security? What seems to be the most logical method of granting access: through a website, portal, open municipal council information system or otherwise?
4. Process and organisation. What is needed in terms of process, organisation, finances? What will it mean for the behaviour of the employees involved?
5. Implementation of pilot, rapid prototyping.
6. Conclusions and recommendations. Functional requirements for information systems. Possible follow-up steps.

Why is this action point relevant to OGP values? Open by Design will contribute to more information being released and to its quality and accessibility being improved.

Open by Design will also improve the opportunities for the public to influence decisions. Publishing proposed legislation (legislative consultation), policy evaluations and research reports, or the agendas of administrative bodies will offer the public the opportunity to participate and to provide their input.

And it is also relevant to public accountability.

Additional information
The ‘Open by Design’ pilots intersect with other government programmes such as Rijk aan Informatie, the MOOI (Modernisation of the publication of government information) programme and the efforts of VNG Realisatie concerning Open Municipal Council Information.
Milestone with a verifiable result (please note: SMART) Start date: End date:
Recruiting participating partners, the goal is 5-10 authorities (ministries, provinces, municipalities, implementing bodies) 01 March 2018 30 November 2018
Start of pilots in individual organisations 01 July 2018 30 June 2019
Sharing of knowledge among participating organisations (semi-annual meeting). 01 July 2018 30 June 2020
Conclusions and recommendations for follow-up, per organisation 01 January 2019 30 April 2020
General conclusions and recommendations, advice on broad approach and roll-out. 01 January 2020 30 June 2020
Contact information
Name of the responsible person representing the main action owner Jacqueline Rutjens
Position, organisational unit Programme director of the Rijk aan Informatie programme
Email and phone number, 06 4813 7690Other actors involved Authorities involved • Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, confirmed
• Municipality of Bodegraven-Reeuwijk, confirmed
• Dutch National Archives (advice regarding sustainable accessibility), confirmed
• Province of Zuid-Holland (tbc)
• Municipality of Utrecht (tbc)
• ILT (tbc)
• Other ministries, provinces, municipalities

Other organisations or bodies (such as community organisations or the private sector) • Instituut Maatschappelijke Innovatie (Institute for Social Innovation) (advice and coordination)
• Open State Foundation


  1. Local Digital Democracy

    NL0028, 2018, E-Government

  2. Dilemma Logic

    NL0029, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Join EITI

    NL0030, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  4. Open Algorithms

    NL0031, 2018, Capacity Building

  5. Open Local Decision-Making

    NL0032, 2018, Capacity Building

  6. ‘Open by Design’ Pilots

    NL0033, 2018, E-Government

  7. Open Contracting

    NL0034, 2018, Open Contracting and Procurement

  8. Open Parliament

    NL0035, 2018, Audits and Controls

  9. Open Government Standard and Dashboard

    NL0036, 2018, E-Government

  10. Pioneering Network for an Open Government for Municipalities

    NL0037, 2018, Capacity Building

  11. Transparent Political Party Finance

    NL0038, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  12. National Open Data Agenda

    NL0019, 2016, Capacity Building

  13. Stuiveling Open Data Award

    NL0020, 2016, Open Data

  14. Groningen Open Data Re-Use

    NL0021, 2016, Infrastructure & Transport

  15. Releasing Ministerial Research Reports

    NL0022, 2016, Health

  16. Detailed Open Spending Data

    NL0023, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  17. Open Local Authority Decision-Making

    NL0024, 2016, Open Data

  18. Training Civil Servants on Public Participation

    NL0025, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Easier Freedom of Information Requests

    NL0026, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Open Government Expertise Centre (LEOO)

    NL0027, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Further Develop and Promote Disclosure and Use of Open Data

    NL0001, 2013, E-Government

  22. Increase Financial Transparency Through Open Budget and Experiments with Open Spending and Budget Monitoring

    NL0002, 2013, E-Government

  23. Open House of Representatives

    NL0003, 2013, E-Government

  24. Instruments for Integrity

    NL0004, 2013, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  25. Revamp the Legislative Calendar

    NL0005, 2013, E-Government

  26. More Online Consultation

    NL0006, 2013, E-Government

  27. More Transparency in Decision-Making Through Volgdewet.Nl Legislation-Tracking Website

    NL0007, 2013, E-Government

  28. Informal Approach to Freedom of Information Requests

    NL0008, 2013, Right to Information

  29. From Rules to Freedom

    NL0009, 2013, Public Participation

  30. Change Attitudes and Procedures Through Smarter Working and ‘Public Servant 2.0’

    NL0010, 2013, Capacity Building

  31. Water Coalition

    NL0011, 2013, Public Participation

  32. Develop and Implement Participation Policy at the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment

    NL0012, 2013, Public Participation

  33. Make Government Information Accessible and Easy to Find

    NL0013, 2013, Capacity Building

  34. Make Citizens Better Informed and More Empowered: Public Inspection and Correction of Information

    NL0014, 2013, E-Government

  35. Open Announcements and Notifications

    NL0015, 2013, E-Government

  36. Public Services and the User Perspective

    NL0016, 2013, E-Government

  37. Designate Categories of Government Information for Active Access

    NL0017, 2013, Capacity Building

  38. Rethink Information Management and Active Access: Four ‘Open by Design’ Pilot Projects

    NL0018, 2013, E-Government