*Update 20-4-2022: The MoD has announced policy changes in a letter to parliament (Dutch). While the announced changes represent a positive direction, Open State and other members of the consortium still warn that several pressing loopholes and missed opportunities remain in this new policy. You can download the statement at the bottom of this page.
A lot of Dutch ministries, provinces, municipalities and important institutions comply to the transparency and openness that is expected from the Dutch government. Research done by Open State Foundation [Dutch] shows that the Ministry of Defence, despite promises, publishes a lot less than other ministries in the Netherlands, and less than Ministries of Defence abroad. The DoD classifies relevant information as unsafe to share due to ‘national security’. This needs to change.
A transparent government is fundamental for a strong democracy. The Dutch have been moving in the direction of sharing more open data for years, showcasing what the government does and giving journalists, researchers and companies the opportunity to use the data. This now only serves to increase trust in government, it can also be good for business.
The DoD has a special status within the country, given the importance of their task. Sharing data that threatens national security is unwanted, but: for a ministry that will receive 10 billion euro tax money in 2019 it is important to be more transparent on what that money is spent on, and what the results are.
Open State Foundation supports an open, transparent government. The special status of the DoD should not be an excuse for unnecessary secrecy. This is why we need to have an Open Ministry of Defence.