Policy Monitor

The Netherlands – Werkagenda Waardengedreven Digitaliseren (Value-driven Digitalisation Work Agenda)

The Work Agenda outlines the ambition and objectives of the Dutch government for the digital transition of Dutch society and economy. It wants to safeguard public values in the digital transition, facilitate discussion about value-driven digitalization and develop building blocks of a value-driven digital government. The working agenda is built around five foundations: participation in the digital age, trust, control, digital public services and a specific chapter which focuses on the strengthening of the digital society of the Caribbean part of the Netherlands.

What: policy agenda

Impact score: 2

For who: regulators, businesses, public authorities, citizens



Key takeaways for Flanders:

  • The work agenda is a policy document with goals, target indicators and KPIs. This approach is interesting for the development of a Flemish strategy
  • The Dutch government will introduce technical and legal innovations to enable people to retrieve government data and share it with third parties.
  • Also on the agenda is the creation of a public algorithm registry and an algorithm regulator

The main focus on value-driven governance refers to a government that sets the right example in digitalization. The problems with IT systems and the issues with data and algorithms in cases such as the child care benefits affaire (Toeslagenaffaire) have undermined the trust of society. The Dutch government wants to improve and optimize its information management in order to share information properly and be transparent about it.

While the focus of the cabinet during the previous legislature was more on a government that dared to experiment and innovate to improve services to citizens and entrepreneurs, now the emphasis is more on standardisation and regulation. The focus has broadened from government to a vision of a digital society, recovering universal values such as transparency, self-determination and non-discrimination.

The Netherlands also wants to take a leading role in Europe in terms of digital public services and is doing so by adopting several implementations for which a European framework is still in the pipeline. One example is the e-wallet, for which European rules are coming in 2025. The public algorithm register or the creation of an algorithm regulator (AI Act) are other examples of this dynamic.

The agenda consists of five fundaments. Per foundation, ambitions and objectives have also been added. The main features are complementary to each other and are realised in
conjunction with each other.

1. Everyone will be able to participate in the digital age

The Netherlands has around 2.5 million people who lack sufficient digital skills, leaving them vulnerable to cybercrime and misinformation. The government is working to make digital services more accessible and stimulate digital skills for citizens and businesses, including support through low-threshold physical information points. The government aims to roll out authorization for trusted persons to handle digital affairs widely in 2025. The government is also working to combat disinformation by promoting digital skills and media literacy, regulating online platforms (via a proper implementation of the Digital Services Act), introducing the European Code of Practice against Disinformation, and providing opportunities for fact-checking and public alternatives to digital social platforms. Additionally, the government is using digitalization to strengthen and make democracy more inclusive.

2. Everyone will be able to trust the digital world

In order to maintain confidence in the digital world, the Dutch government is proactively addressing personal privacy, prevention of discrimination and online disinformation, and creating a safe digital environment for citizens and businesses, with specific attention paid to protecting vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly. It wants to be a frontrunner in the development and use of responsible digital technology. It aims to do this by developing a mandatory quality mark for public values and technology for public institutions and conducting human rights impact assessments for applications that have a significant impact on citizens. The government is also stepping up its fight against criminal online activities and increases commitment to cybersecurity. Additionally, the government explores the influence of new technologies like quantum technology and synthetic data to limit adverse consequences and adopts new frameworks where required to safeguard public values.

3. Everyone will have control of their digital lives

The Dutch government is taking steps to address the lack of control people feel regarding the data that organizations collect, market, or even lose about them. Citizens can already inspect, retrieve, and correct their personal data at official authorities based on GDPR regulations, but the technical possibilities are being expanded to make it easier for everyone to exercise these rights. With digital identities and wallets, the government is offering people more control over their data and drawing up clear rules for ID wallets, giving citizens the right and opportunity to digitally manage and share their data. Additionally, everyone should be able to personally determine with whom their data are shared, both publicly and privately. The GDPR applies to algorithms with which personal data is processed, and the government aims to make algorithms and their applications fair and transparent for citizens and businesses through the establishment of an Algorithm Supervisory Authority and Algorithm Register, as transparency is the basis for confidence.

4. A digital government that works on a value-driven and open basis for all

The Dutch government aims to regain the trust of citizens by setting a good example in information management and data handling. The government recognizes that citizens, media, and Parliament often do not receive timely insight into the actions and decisions of the government. Therefore, the government plans to improve its information management, handle requests for information in a timely and adequate manner, and proactively disclose government information The government will also improve its data management by complying with the highest requirements for the acquisition, storage, processing, and sharing of data, with a focus on privacy, transparency, and control for citizens. To achieve this, the government plans to strengthen its ICT organization and systems and integrate the Digital Government Agenda. The governance of data throughout the Central Government will be improved with frameworks and guidelines, a tighter data community, and the inclusion of the duties and role of a Chief Data Officer in the system of the CIO Decree.

5. Strengthen the digital society in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom

The government aims to improve the digital services in the Caribbean Netherlands to allow citizens and businesses to equally participate in the digital society.