There is a growing realisation among public authorities in the Netherlands that their work should be data-driven. This trend is seen at many different levels, ranging from national to local. ‘Evidence-based’ working has become a focal point for a growing number of municipalities, for instance. This is the reason why they seek collaboration with Statistics Netherlands (CBS).
This collaboration is made possible through ‘CBS Urban Data Centres’ (UDCs). Within an Urban Data Centre, a municipality combines its strengths with those of CBS. Core expertise available at CBS on e.g. data infrastructure, data processing and privacy protection is paired with local policy issues by committing (new) data sources towards finding policy solutions and laying bare the local implications of societal developments. This is how local authorities, businesses and institutions improve their understanding of actual developments within the municipality.
Various types of data centres have so far emerged in the Netherlands, ranging from Urban Data Centres in cities to a specially established Rural Data Centre (RDC) for rural municipalities which have teamed up. In January 2018, the very first Provincial Data Centre was launched in Limburg: the Brightlands Data Centre. The UDC concept has attracted wide international interest. CBS is often seen explaining at international events what the cooperation within UDCs means.