Data-driven operations with a broad Frisian coalition

/ Author: Miriam van der Sangen
© Hollandse Hoogte / EyeEm Mobile GmbH
On Tuesday, 12 February 2019, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and seven organisations from the province of Friesland signed a letter of intent at the launch of DataFryslân. The aim of the agreement is for all parties involved – municipalities, provincial government, university of applied sciences, university and the Frisian Bureau for Social Policy Analysis – to find ways of making smart and efficient use of each other’s data and expertise.

Access and linking data

Ingrid van de Vegte is director of the Frisian Bureau for Social Policy Analysis. She is also one of the initiators of DataFryslân. “A wide range of organisations in Friesland are working together in the initiative to answer data-relevant questions about quality of life, tourism, economy and social welfare. We also want to establish a hub in which data access and data links are in place. There will also be a lab in which staff and students can experiment with data. Within the Podium we will share experiences with each other.”

Knowledge and expertise

Gerhard Dekker is Head of Development for Regional Data Centres and Regional Data Services at CBS. He is closely involved in setting up Urban Data Centres, Provincial Data Centres and Regional Data Centres. “The foundation of DataFryslân enables the participating Frisian organisations to set out agreements on the use, access, quality and security of data and results. To do so effectively, it is vital to ensure that CBS is involved at the earliest stage possible. Over the past 2.5 years, we have gained considerable knowledge and experience of Urban Data Centres. We are therefore keen to pool our resources in the development phase by formulating priorities, determining content and defining roles, for example.”

Stronger together

As Ingrid van de Vegte sees it, the primary focus of the organisations collaborating within DataFryslân is to reinforce each other’s strengths. “The participating organisations realise that data science and data applications are developing at incredible speed, and that working together and learning together can only help the Province of Friesland move ahead. We are seeking answers to key questions. For instance, how many tourists visit our province and how are their needs and demands evolving?' Or which communities are experiencing a strong growth in care and provisions under the Social Support Act? Questions that can be answered by linking and analysing data, and which can ultimately generate better policy and new services.”

Broad coalition

As Gerhard Dekker reveals, several provinces have now decided to collaborate with CBS. “Those already on board include Limburg and Noord-Brabant. And recently Zeeland also expressed an interest in becoming a Provincial Data Centre. But this Frisian partnership is unique in encompassing such a broad coalition. Speaking on behalf of CBS, I would like to compliment the Province of Friesland on this initiative, and making the most of their strengths by joining forces. We are delighted to be cooperating with such a bold, positive approach.”

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