Transparency Dutch company register leaves much to be desired

With a FOIA request Open State Foundation has asked the Dutch Chamber of Commerce full access to financial information on the costs and benefits of the company register. Too little is known about the costs and benefits of the Dutch company register. Much of the actual costs of management, operation, development and provision and distribution of this information is unknown.

The current way of financing the company register in the Netherlands is a major obstacle to the (re)use of data from the company register. In addition to the financial costs and benefits of the company register, Open State Foundation also requested access to the source code of the register.

In the Netherlands, unlike countries such as the UK, France, Belgium, Norway and Denmark, the data of the company register is not open data.

‘Experiences in other countries show that open and free access to company registers benefits trade, the economy and innovation’, says Arjan El Fassed, director of Open State Foundation. ‘The inability to access the company register as open data means that social and economic benefits are missed on a daily basis and innovation is hindered.’

On November 25, 2015 a large majority of the Dutch parliament voted in favour of a motion that demands an investigation into making the company register available as open data. Until now, the Minister of Economic Affairs has not informed the parliament yet about progress with this research. Open State Foundation therefore also made an information request about the implementation of this study.

‘The company register is subject of debate in parliament. Open State Foundation wants to obtain important information to inform this debate’, says FOIA expert Brenno de Winter, who was authorised on behalf of Open State Foundation to file the FOIA request. ‘It is unfortunate that the Chamber of Commerce fails to have its own information organised very well. Already six weeks have passed since the request was filed and it started to search for the underlying information. One would expect that an organisation that is subject to debate has its own house in order.’

Opdracht Kamer van Koophandel Brabant
Opdracht Kamer van Koophandel Brabant, Croes, Rob C. / Anefo. CC BY 4.0.