CBS, Limburg Province launch Provincial Data Centre

/ Author: Miriam van der Sangen
© Hollandse Hoogte / Marco van Middelkoop luchtfotografie
On 30 January 2018, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and the province of Limburg signed an agreement to launch the first Provincial Data Centre: the CBS Brightlands Data Centre. CBS branch director in Heerlen (Limburg) Astrid Boeijen is excited: ‘We have built up good relations with this province over the past few years. This is a fine opportunity for both parties!’

Over the past year, CBS and a number of municipalities have established local Urban Data Centres. At these UDCs, municipalities and CBS work together to develop policies by using data. CBS’ knowledge on data infrastructure, data processing and privacy protection is very useful in that respect. Now, the Urban Data Centres have a sibling: the Provincial Data Centre. This fits in with the core task of CBS to conduct and to promote statistical research in conformity with government regulations.


Branch director Astrid Boeijen explains: ‘As we see happening elsewhere, the province of Limburg wants to put more focus on data-driven methodologies. Establishing a data centre at provincial level ties in with the current shift of responsibilities from central to provincial government level. Besides, this is a very good opportunity for CBS as we are now collaborating at all different levels - central, provincial and municipal - in the area of policy issues involving data research. It is also an efficient way of spending public funds. Moreover, this makes it possible to compare the data which are used by municipalities, provinces and central government at all levels and to aggregate them. After all, they are based on CBS data, which means they always underscore the same definitions.’ Aside from Limburg, other provinces have also shown interest in establishing a Provincial Data Centre.

Aside from Limburg, other provinces have also shown interest in establishing a Provincial Data Centre

Major boost

According to Astrid Boeijen, the Brightlands Provincial Data Centre links up nicely with the contacts CBS has already established in Limburg. ‘In September 2017, CBS and TNO jointly examined the economic structure and development of the province of Limburg. The reason for this was a need within the provincial government for deeper insight into economic spearhead policies.’ In addition, that same month, CBS celebrated the 1st anniversary of the Centre for Big Data Statistics (CBDS) in Heerlen, which focuses on the application of big data technology in statistics production. The province decided in 2017 to contribute financially to the CBDS. The contribution should mainly provide a great boost to the continued growth of the Brightlands Smart Services Campus in Heerlen and the CBDS. Both parties work closely together. ‘The CBDS can play an important role here, by delivering input for data-driven provincial policies in Limburg around topics such as economic growth, energy transition, mobility, labour market, health, housing market and safety in Limburg,’ says Boeijen.