Where are the data of the Ministry of Defence?

The Dutch Ministry of Defence has a world to win when it comes to open data and transparency. The Ministry of Defence is one of the two ministries that have not participated in the government-wide data inventory that was conducted in 2015 and 2016.

Netherlands does not, but US, France and UK have open data

In fact, the Department of Defence is one of the ministries with the least reported datasets through That’s strange. Especially when you look at available open datasets from Ministries of Defence in other countries. For example, the US Department of Defense has 194 datasets, and even source codes available. Closer to home, the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom 332 open data sets available and the French Ministry of Defence has opened more than 192 datasets.

There is data but not open

There is data but not available as open data, for example the database with weekly notices and geodata of the Hydrographic Service of the Ministry of Defence. Even the collection of digital cultural heritage such as the image library of the Netherlands Institute of Military History. This is publicly funded digital government information that should be already available as open data.

Verifiable government

Also, data collected by the Defence, such as notices of noise from the Air Force Information and Complaints System or data on military flights over the Netherlands are not available as open data.

Also the performance of the Ministry, the costs of military missions, defence spending, the results and consequences for military personnel, veterans and citizens the ministry lacks transparency.

Regarding the latter, it is uncomfortable to know that the Netherlands is one of the least transparent countries, the commitment to missions, such as in Syria and Iraq. For example, data about sorties, historical data about the location and timing of air strikes, weapon deployment, material damage and civilian casualties, unlike countries such as USA, Canada, France and the United Kingdom are not disclosed.

Since the Ministry of Defence received more budget, one should expect that at least the ministry will quickly start with a data inventory and already start publishing datasets that can be made available and accessible as open data.