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
- Data Acquisition Decree
- Regulation on trade in goods statistics (Regeling statistieken goederenverkeer (in Dutch only)
- Regulation on the provision of data on causes of death (Regeling verstrekking gegevens doodsoorzaken CBS (in Dutch only)
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:
Some textual modifications were made in the Multi-Annual Programme 2019-2023 after its contents were presented to Dutch Parliament on 12 March 2018. These modifications do not prejudice the contents of the Programme, but clarify certain terminology which might wrongly imply that a relationship of authority/influence by third parties arises from research CBS conducts in the form of customised statistical services to said third parties; and that only one organisation is served by the provision of such customised services. After all, it is CBS’ statutory task to disseminate all its information as widely as possible and in an independent manner; all research results are therefore made publicly accessible to everyone at the same time.
Finally, specific wording pertaining to funding has been rephrased, so as to demonstrate more explicitly that CBS is independent in this respect as well and receives funding via two separate flows, i.e. a flow from within central government via the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, and - in the case of customised statistical services - a flow from within other (public) organisations.
Since the relevant constitutional reform took place on 10 October 2010, CBS has been responsible for the provision of statistical information about the three islands of the Caribbean Netherlands. With a view to exercising this responsibility, a separate multi-annual programme has been drafted on the Caribbean Netherlands which is evaluated periodically. The most recent edition of this multi-annual programme is the Multi-annual Programme on the Caribbean Netherlands 2020-2023.
More information on this and previous multi-annual programmes, annual plans and annual reports by CBS can be found on a separate page.
The statistics overview 2019 (Excel) lists all the statistics currently in production at Statistics Netherlands. The list can be filtered by theme, statistical requirement and periodicity. This overview is updated on an annual basis.
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)