Statistics Netherlands (CBS) enables people to have debates on social issues on the basis of reliable statistical information.
In a society where the amount of information is growing explosively, free access to reliable and integral data is crucial. As the national statistical office, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) provides reliable statistical information and data to produce insight into social issues, thus supporting the public debate, policy development and decision-making while contributing to prosperity, well-being and democracy.
CBS was established in 1899 in response to the need for independent and reliable information that advances the understanding of social issues. This is still the main role of CBS. Through time, CBS has grown into an innovative knowledge institution, with continuous adoption of new technologies and developments in order to safeguard the quality of its data and its independent position.
Independence enshrined in law
The Statistics Netherlands Act constitutes the legal basis for CBS. In addition, CBS has Regulations of the board, as well as statutory provisions and acts regarding the provision of data (in Dutch only):
- Data Acquisition Decree (Besluit gegevensverwerving CBS)
- Regulation on trade in goods statistics (Regeling statistieken goederenverkeer)
- Regulation on the provision of data on causes of death (Regeling verstrekking gegevens doodsoorzaken CBS)
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the GDPR Implementation Act in the Netherlands stipulate what is and what is not permissible with regard to personal data.
Autonomous administrative authority
As an autonomous administrative authority (in Dutch: ZBO), CBS performs public service tasks but operates independently and not under the direct authority of a Dutch ministry. The Minister of Economic Affairs is politically responsible for relevant legislation, budget and conditions. CBS is financed from the state budget.
The Advisory Council
CBS has an Advisory Council. As stipulated by the Statistics Netherlands Act, the Advisory Council’s main task is to provide the Director General with solicited and unsolicited advice about the performance of his tasks and the exercise of his powers. When the position of Director General becomes vacant, another task of the Advisory Council is to make a recommendation to the Minister.
The Mulit-Annual Programme can be found here:
The previous Multi-annual Programme, all Annual Plans and Annual Reports of the organisation have been placed on a separate page.
CBS was founded on 9 January 1899. By the end of the 19th century, there was a growing demand for statistical information. The Dutch government felt the need to exert more control over society. The large-scale industrialisation process had given rise to social malpractices. Statistical data had to provide a solid basis for future policy initiatives to reduce social inequality. Various ministries kept statistics, but these were often incoherent, incomplete and inaccurate. Therefore, the government decided to establish Statistics Netherlands (CBS) with collecting, processing and publishing of reliable statistical data as its main priorities.
Ever since 1899, CBS has gradually transformed into a modern, innovative organisation which actively responds to the needs of Dutch society. CBS shares its information with other levels of government, politics, universities, media and the private sector.
More in-depth publications on the history of CBS are available in Dutch only. Below are two publications on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of CBS:
—PDF - Welgeteld een eeuw (in Dutch only)
—PDF - Huis der getallen (in Dutch only)