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lead author Robert Schuwer, OUNL, from a country stub by James Kay - recent edits by Paul Bacsich

For entities in Netherlands see Category:Netherlands

Policies Survey notes:

In the Netherlands, the Dutch Minister of Education introduced the Wikiwijs initiative as a tool to promote the development and use of OER.
Higher education OER are mostly published under a specific CC license: CC-BY-NC-SA, whilst learning materials in Wikiwijs are usually published under a CC-BY or CC-BY-SA license.
In terms of funding for OER, in the Netherlands the government does not subscribe to, buy or produce learning materials; this is largely left to the discretion of the school/institution. In post-secondary and tertiary education, students have to obtain or purchase those learning materials that are prescribed. However, the Wikiwijs Programme is publicly funded to transform the current situation by mainstreaming OER across the entire educational system.
When it comes to the availability of publicly funded educational resources in digital format, there are differences between sectors. For example, in the field of agricultural studies the use of digital learning materials is significantly higher.
The Netherlands respondent to Policies Survey noted that there are also digital learning materials which are developed by individual teachers for use in their own lessons only. One of the goals of Wikiwijs is to stimulate those teachers to publish and share these materials. Also publishers sometimes put incomplete digital learning materials on the web for promotional purposes.

OER in Netherlands: Map

Total number of Open Education Initiatives in Netherlands/OER on Wednesday, 17 April 2024 at 14:47 = 0 , of which:

  • 0 are MOOC
  • 0 are OER

Initiatives per million = Expression error: Unexpected * operator."Expression error: Unexpected * operator." is not a number.

Loading map...


The Netherlands (Dutch: Nederland) is the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which consists of the Netherlands, and Curaçao and Sint Maarten in the Caribbean. The Netherlands is a parliamentary democratic constitutional monarchy, located in Western Europe. It is bordered by the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east.

The Netherlands is often called Holland. This is formally incorrect as North and South Holland in the western Netherlands are only two of the country's twelve provinces. Still, many Dutch people colloquially refer to their country as Holland in this way, as a synecdoche.

The Netherlands is a geographically low-lying and the 25th most densely populated country in the world, with 395 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,023 sq mi)—or 484 people per square kilometre (1,254/sq mi) if only the land area is counted, since 18.4% is water. The population in total is 16,300,000.

The capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam.

The Netherlands has an international outlook; among other affiliations the country is a founding member of the European Union (EU), NATO, the OECD, and has signed the Kyoto protocol. Along with Belgium and Luxembourg, the Netherlands is one of three member nations of the Benelux economic union. The country is host to five international (ised) courts: the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Court and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. All of these courts (except the Special Tribunal for Lebanon), as well as the EU's criminal intelligence agency (Europol), are situated in The Hague, which has led to the city being referred to as "the world's legal capital."

Further information

For further general information see Wikipedia:Netherlands/OER.

Associated territories

These comprise three Caribbean territories:

  1. Aruba
  2. Curaçao
  3. Sint Maarten

Until 2010, the Netherlands Antilles (Dutch: Nederlandse Antillen), previously known as the Netherlands West Indies - or Dutch Antilles or Dutch West Indies - consisted of two groups of islands in the Caribbean Sea in the Lesser Antilles: Curaçao and Bonaire, just off the Venezuelan coast, and Sint Eustatius, Saba and Sint Maarten, located southeast of the Virgin Islands. The Netherlands Antilles used to form an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

However, in 2010 the territory was split up:

In theory the second set of territories should be discussed in the Netherlands entry; in reality the very different educational situation in these territories makes it best to treat them separately.

Education in Netherlands/OER

For a general description of education in Netherlands/OER see Education:Netherlands/OER.


For a description more focussed to e-learning see E-learning:Netherlands/OER.

ICT policy for education in the Netherlands is set out by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, while the Kennisnet Foundation supports schools in primary, secondary and vocational education in implementing ICT in their school policies. Schools in the Netherlands are in fact themselves responsible for the implementation of ICT in education and each institutions has to design a vision, mission and strategy around the implementation and the use of ICT in schools. In the Netherlands the developments in ICT policy have evolved into a strategic approach to ICT as a means of stimulating and supporting the learning process. This instrumental approach is aimed at understanding the effects of ICT in relation to educational/pedagogical use to ensure the effective and innovative use of ICT throughout learning. Currently, a lot of attention is directed towards the integrated use of ICT in the primary (teaching) and secondary (administration) educational processes. The character of ICT policy is, therefore, much more focused on understanding and describing ICT is an instrument that could be efficiently woven or blended as well as anchored into teaching and learning processes and creating a knowledge society. Consequently, ministerial policies in the last few years have been geared towards the optimal integration of ICT in innovative learning processes. ICT and ICT policies are seen as a part of educational policy and no longer as a separate policy. Executive organs like the Kennisnet Foundation (for primarym, secondary and vocational education) and Surf Foundation (for higher education), the national pedagogical centres and sector organisations set up programmes, projects and action plans to serve the needs and demands of the schools. These plans focus on three main issues:

- Professionalisation of the teacher
- The school as an organisation with an overall view concerning the integration of ICT
- Optimal use of digital learning material

Although the Dutch Ministry of Education and Culture no longer considers ICT to be a separate policy, it supports specific ICT multiannual national programmes. These programmes aim to provide a broad impulse regarding specific ICT issues as formulated by the schools themselves or sector organisations. Some examples of these programmes are:

- Media literacy

In 2007 the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science set up an expertise centre for Media Literacy. This centre works together with more than 140 organisations, varying from publishers to libraries and broadcasting institutions. The objective of this programme is to increase knowledge of and the necessary competences in the prudent use of new media.

- Stimulating the use of digital learning material

This programme was initiated in 2008 to stimulate increased use of digital learning material in primary, secondary and vocational education. An important part of the programme includes activities to form a well-functioning market of digital learning materials. To this end, the available digital learning materials are assembled and connected to portals and platforms that are easily accessible for teachers. Through public platforms, demand for and supply of the digital learning materials are matched and the materials made readily available for a specific target audience. The programme also provides research information available about the popularity, user-friendliness and efficacy of different digital learning materials. (1)

Education for sick children

Since the decree on support of education for sick students of 1 August 1999 (Ondersteuning Onderwijs Zieke Leerlingen (WOOZL)), hospital schools were disbanded in the Netherlands. The network Ziezon was set up in 2000 for the 130 teachers of these hospital schools and their co-ordinators, to maintain and further develop their expertise, as well as to organise events and implementing ICT resources. Today Ziezon is a network that is there for anything to do with providing education to the ill. (1)

Quality procedures

Quality assurance in ICT integration in schools

The Ministry of Education regards monitoring the development of ICT in education as very important and requires this process to be conducted annually. AN annual ICT monitor is carried out by Kennisnet, the dutch foundation which supports school in primary, secondary and vocational education in integrating ICT in their school policies The monitor collects data on key factors or indicators that are known to influence the efficient and effective use of ICT in education. The conceptual framework for the monitor is derived from the so-called Four in Balance model, which reflects a research-based vision of the introduction and the use of ICT in education. The core premise underlying the Four in Balance model is that use of ICT for educational purposes in schools depends on maintaining a balance between four building blocks:
- The vision relating to education and ICT
- Knowledge and skills of teachers
- Educational software (including content)
- ICT infrastructure

Data for this monitor is collected from a representative sample of school boards, school management, teachers and students by both the Dutch inspectorate for education and several research institute. (1)

Quality assurance in higher education

The arrangements are quite complicated. Eurypedia summarises the situation as follows (our emphasis):

External evaluation in higher education

Under the Higher Education and Research Act (WHW 1993), the task of supervising higher education falls to the Education Inspectorate, under the responsibility of the Minister of Education, Culture and Science. The Inspectorate supervises both individual institutions and the system as a whole, including the system of accreditation (see below). It has a dual task: to enforce the law and to promote the quality of teaching. To this end, it monitors compliance with statutory regulations and inspects aspects of quality. The Inspectorate carries out inspections at the request of the Minister, on its own initiative, or in response to signals it has received from the institution or the community.

The Inspectorate oversees some 70 government-funded universities and HBO institutions, and a similar number of universities and HBO institutions which are not government-funded, although the qualifications they award are recognised as equivalent.


An accreditation system was introduced in the Netherlands in 2003. Courses have to be accredited if they are to receive funding or recognition from the government. Institutions’ boards are responsible for ensuring timely accreditation from the Netherlands-Flanders Accreditation Organisation (NVAO). Both new and existing courses have to be accredited. The NVAO drafted the relevant framework for this in 2003.

The NVAO only assesses new courses, and delegates the task of assessing existing courses to the Review and Assessment Boards (VBIs). Under the auspices of the VBIs, review committees visit institutions, where they assess the self-evaluation, examine whether courses measure up to the criteria contained in the accreditation framework and assess their quality. The institution submits the resulting VBI report to the NVAO for accreditation. The NVAO will mainly monitor the working methods of the VBIs and the reasons they give to underpin their conclusions. If the NVAO accepts the VBI’s assessment, the institution receives its accreditation. If the NVAO cannot validate the assessment on the basis of the VBI report, it may decide on an extended inspection, or request additional advice. Accreditation is valid for six years. New courses cannot be started until the NVAO has established that the quality of the proposed programme is in order.

Both NVAO and QANU (Quality Assurance Netherlands Universities) are full members of ENQA.

Internet in Netherlands/OER

In the Netherlands, access to online information is not only supported by a high diffusion of internet connections, but also by many organisations, businesses and (increasingly) citizens providing online content. In 2012, 39.1 broadband internet connections existed per 100 inhabitants. Only Switzerland has an higher percentage of broadband access points.

The Dutch government contributes to a high quality of available information, supports the European Safer Internet Programme and is in favour of net neutrality, the principle of letting all internet traffic flow equally and impartially, without discrimination. The government bears some responsibility for internet safety, taking a leading role compared to industry and schools. In 2008 the government, in collaboration with business, started the programme Digivaardig & Digibewust, the Dutch programme promoting e‑awareness, e‑inclusion and e‑skills. This programme aims at the e‑inclusion of all Dutch people by promoting safe internet use and media literacy. In line with the liberal values in Dutch society the government is committed to the freedom of expression in the online environment, as elsewhere, as long as these expressions stay within the limits of what is legally acceptable (see the section on the legislative environment below). This also holds for the protection of privacy on the net. Although there is fairly little concern among citizens about threats to their privacy, the data protection law is available to penalise the abuse of personal information. The Dutch government is seeking to use ICT tools to reduce administrative burdens and improve service delivery. Internationally, the Netherlands is at the forefront in these tasks. In line with the traditional Dutch focus on participative and inclusive government, featuring broad citizen consultation and involvement, the Netherlands has developed ambitious programmes and activities that aim to increase user take-up of e‑services. In order for citizens to reach a fast, efficient and customer-focused government, policy is directed towards the development of a basic infrastructure, which includes electronic access to the government, e‑authentication, basic registration and services (e.g., applying for a passport). However, the take-up of e‑services is rather slow, partly due to insufficient skills of the Dutch, and also due to a lack of user orientation in e‑government services. A strong new trend is the rise of Web 2.0, leading to a substantive deepening of existing internet use and means that people will begin making use of various kinds of different content. Because the content created by users is not constrained to textual information, audiovisual information is added in increasing amounts to the web as music and self-made film clips are shared with others. In the Netherlands the social networking site Hyves has attracted many people, in particular the youth. As is the case elsewhere in the world, Twitter is the latest fashion in information exchange. Web 2.0 also creates opportunities for musicians and other artists to offer (trailers of) their music and other forms of creative expression on the net. MySpace is currently a popular website in the Netherlands, where large numbers of users maintain weblogs and profiles. Another but related trend is the improvement of media literacy. In the Netherlands media literacy is often called “media wisdom”, which refers to the skills, attitudes and mentality that citizens and organisations need to be aware, critical and active in a highly mediatised world. Most Dutch media education initiatives are directed at the internet and audiovisual media. However, the converging of different media platforms makes it hard to distinguish separate media. TV, mobile and internet are converging, and virtual worlds and “real” worlds also seem to be merging. (1)

Some of the main issues that need special attention in the future are:

- Media literacy: In October 2006 the Dutch cabinet stressed the importance of this topic and saw the need for a centre of media expertise and a code of conduct for the media. The centre was established in May 2008. Many different organisations are involved in activities that aim to achieve the goal of increasing media literacy.
- Identity management: Due to a combination of technological and social developments we can see an increasing convergence of new technologies and services. Steps need to be taken in order to support the identity management of citizens and to increase their sense of online security.
- Improved internet safety: Cyber bullying, cyber crime (hacking, phishing, viruses, etc.) and inappropriate and illegal content are prolific. Good organisations and campaigns have already been established. However, this is an ongoing task and there is still work to be done. (1)

Internet in Education

Copyright law in Netherlands/OER

Information about copyright law in the Netherlands is available here.

Copyright law in Education

All information about copyright law in higher education can be found at a SURF website about copyright.. Some general remarks:

  • The Reader Agreement is an agreement between the Dutch Publishers Association (NUV)/Publication and Reproduction Rights Organisation (Stichting Pro) and the higher education institutions (via their umbrella organisations, the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) and the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (HBO-raad)). This agreement sets out arrangements for the use of copyright-protected material in educational publications such as readers. The agreement deals with the conditions for this and with the “fair payment” that must be made.
  • Employees possess all rights on publications they have made, both scientific as learning materials. In some cases these rights are by contract transferred to the institution.

In the other educational sectors (primary, secondary and vocational education), the umbrella organisations for these sectors have made arrangements with educational publishers to make possible reuse of copyrighted materials. They pay a yearly fee for this. Some exceptions on copyright law exist especially for education to have more possibilities on reuse. In most cases, it should be clear the materials are only meant to be used in an educational setting (e.g. using recordings of music or showing a movie).

More detailed information is available on a website Copyright and education (in Dutch)

OER Initiatives in Netherlands/OER

In its response to the OECD questionnaire, the Netherlands reported that it is active in OER over the full spectrum of education, with the exception of International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) sector 4. (2)

Teleblik is a website that assembles thousands of hours of educational television and makes these available online, free of charge to schools. Teachers can download and upload films and animations and give their opinion about particular material, after logging in with their school accounts. (Website - http://teleblik.nl/) (1)

In order to support teachers in their professionalisation with the use of ICT, an online platform was created in 2009 (www.leraar24.nl). The platform includes files and videos on various educational subjects supplied by teachers themselves. At this platform teachers can learn from each other’s experience, share their methods and discuss the key issues that they are concerned with. (1)

National OER initiatives


In its response to the OECD questionnaire, the Netherlands points to its Wikiwijs programme as the national strategy for OER. (2)

Wikiwijs has to be the place where all teachers of the Netherlands, ranging from primary education to higher education, can (co)develop, share, rework and use digital learning materials, published under an open license.

The basic idea is to create a digital, internet-based platform to bring together, share and develop digital learning materials for all educational sectors, ranging from primary education to higher education. Digital learning materials are more than digital textbooks only. It will also comprise tests and practice materials. One main principle of Wikiwijs is using the “wisdom of the crowds”. Therefore, Wikiwijs should become “for, from and by teachers”. As soon as possible, they must feel owner of Wikiwijs, its content and the functionality. This feeling of ownership is considered the most critical success factor for Wikiwijs. Although Wikiwijs is considered for, from and by teachers, other potential target groups for contributing to Wikiwijs are not excluded. Potentially interesting groups are among others former teachers, students, parents, teacher trainers and scientists.

A second main principle of Wikiwijs is that the learning materials should be open accessible, in line with an advice of the Educational Council of the Netherlands (the counselling body of the Dutch Government) in 2008. They published the result of a research they had conducted to the use of digital learning materials in the Netherlands. Their conclusions were all focused on the use of open learning materials, because in their opinion this gives the most impact on innovation of education using digital learning materials. This conclusion was motivated by the characteristics of rework and remix of open learning materials. These characteristics give teachers the possibility to arrange their own lesson content, thereby directly affecting the core of education, their primary proces. Furthermore, by self selecting and organizing digital learning materials is a point of application to acquire and maintain an important competence for education in the 21st century: using new media.

For more details see Wikiwijs

Networked Open Polytechnic Informatics (NOP-I)

The programme of NOP-I is directed at obtaining start-level qualifications for IT-professionals at the Associate and Bachelor degree level of the European e-Competence Framework in the field of IT-Service Management or Software Engineering. It is undertaken by the Open Universiteit and four Dutch polytechnics (universities of professional education): Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen, Fontys Hogeschool ICT, De Haagse Hogeschool en Hanzehogeschool Groningen. These five partners are responsible for the development of the NOP-I. In the stage of the actual exploitation, after the start-up period, the network will be open to partners with added value to the consortium.

For more details see NOP-I

Regional OER initiatives

Institutional OER initiatives

In the Netherlands, the public funding of learning materials is through lump sum financing of schools or institutions in primary and secondary education (ISCED 1 to 3). The schools can then decide which materials they will purchase and generally place orders for educational materials from a competitive market of publishers. But they can also develop or use OER. (2)

Open University of the Netherlands

In 2006 the Open Universiteit started its first experiment with OER launching the project OpenER (Dutch for “more open”). This project was ended mid 2008. An internal task force then investigated the possibilities to come to a business model in which OER was an integral part. This resulted in the platform OpenU (portal.openu.nl). Ultimately, the goal is to have 10% of each regular course offered as OER. Currently, two faculties offer their learning materials through OpenU (Master of Learning Design and Computer Science).

For more details see The case study of Open Universiteit

OER policies

National policies

The Wikiwijs program, as described earlier, was the national policy on OER from 2009-2013. Currently, there is not a comparable policy formulated.

Open and online higher education

In January 2014, the Minister of Education published a letter to the Parliament on open and online education. The reason for this letter were questions from the Parliament in which her vision was asked on developments in the world on open and online education, more specifially MOOCs. In her letter she announced investments of €1M per year, later set to a period of four years. These investments should lead to:

  • increase of the reputation of Dutch HE on some profiling subjects via developments of MOOCs
  • cooperation between institutions of HE in the Netherlands to improve education using open and online education in its full potential
  • thorough evaluation of experiences with open and online education in the Dutch context

For more details see http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/bestanden/documenten-en-publicaties/kamerstukken/2014/01/08/kamerbrief-over-digitalisering-van-het-hoger-onderwijs/kamerbrief-over-digitalisering-van-het-hoger-onderwijs.pdf (in Dutch)

Regional policies

Institutional policies


1. ReVica/VISCED page for the Netherlands (http://virtualcampuses.eu/index.php/Netherlands)


  1. Hylén, J. et al. (2012), “Open Educational Resources: Analysis of Responses to the OECD Country Questionnaire”, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 76, OECD Publishing. http://oer.unescochair-ou.nl/?wpfb_dl=38

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