EUROPAM

European Public Accountability Mechanisms

Netherlands

Country score (European Average*)
  • 43(66) Political Financing
  • 13(53) Financial Disclosure
  • 2(37) Conflict of Interest
  • 46(59) Freedom of Information
  • 51(62) Public Procurement

Country Facts

IncomeHigh
GNI per capita (2011 PPP $)46712.07
Population, total17018408.00
Urban population (% of total)91.03
Internet users (per 100 people)90.41
Life expectancy at birth (years)81.71
Mean years of schooling (years)11.9
Global Competitiveness Index5.7
Sources: World Bank, UNDP, WEF.

Political Financing

The Election Act (1989, amended 2016) and the Subsidies Act for Political Parties (2011) were the main laws regulating party financing but the Financing of Political Parties Act 2013, amended 2016, brings about recent changes to the law.

There are few limits on the private income of political parties. There appears to be no ban on donations from foreign entities, corporations, trade unions or anonymous donors. There are also no limits on the amount that donors may donate to political parties.

There is public funding available for political parties and is allocated based on the share of votes received in the previous election and the number of members. Public funding may be used for campaign spending. There is subsidized access to the media for political parties and tax relief as a form of indirect public funding.

For regulations on spending, vote buying is banned. However there are no bans on state resources being used in favour or against a political party or candidate or limits on the spending of political parties or candidates.

Parties are required to provide annual accounts. The accounts must reveal the identity of donors and be made public.  Accounts are overseen by the Commission for the Oversight of Political Party Financing. There are sanctions for those breaching the provisions of the law in the form of fines, the loss of public funding and imprisonment.


Quantitative Data

Primary Metric

20122015201620172020Trend
Bans and limits on private income00000
Public funding3862626262
Regulations on spending2525252525
Reporting, oversight and sanctions6783838383

Values lie in range between 0 and 100, higher values implying higher legislation comprehensiveness


Qualitative Data

We are frequently reviewing and refining our data, so in case you notice any mistake in our assessment, feel free to send us an email by clicking the button ()

Bans and limits on private income

Bans on donations from foreign interests

Is there a ban on donations from foreign interests to political parties? No. Absent from legal framework
Is there a ban on donations from foreign interests to candidates? No. Absent from legal framework

Bans on corporate donations

Is there a ban on corporate donations to political parties? No. Absent from legal framework
Is there a ban on corporate donations to candidates? No. Absent from legal framework
Is there a ban on donations from corporations with government contracts to political parties? No. Absent from legal framework
Is there a ban on donations from corporations of partial government ownership to political parties? No. Absent from legal framework
Is there a ban on donations from corporations with government contracts to candidates? No. Absent from legal framework
Is there a ban on donations from corporations of partial government ownership to candidates? No. Absent from legal framework

Bans on donations from trade unions

Is there a ban on donations from Trade Unions to political parties? No. Absent from legal framework
Is there a ban on donations from Trade Unions to candidates? No. Absent from legal framework

Bans on anonymous donations

Is there a ban on anonymous donations to political parties? No. If a political party receives an anonymous monetary contribution exceeding 1,000 euros, the portion exceeding the amount of 1,000 euros shall be transferred to the account of Our Minister designated for such purpose. If a political party receives an anonymous contribution in kind exceeding 1,000 euros, the portion or the counter-value exceeding the amount of 1,000 euros shall be transferred to Our Minister, or the contribution shall be destroyed. (Article 23, Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)
Is there a ban on anonymous donations to candidates? No. Absent from legal framework

Other bans on donations

Is there a ban on state resources being given to or received by political parties or candidates (excluding regulated public funding)? No. Absent from legal framework
Is there a ban on any other form of donation? No. Absent from legal framework

Donation limits

Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party over a time period (not election specific)? No. Absent from legal framework
Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party in relation to an election? No. Absent from legal framework
Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a candidate? No. Absent from legal framework

Public funding 

Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties

Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Share of votes in previous election No. Absent from legal framework
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Representation in elected body Yes. Parties must win at least one seat in the first or second chamber in the last election (Art. 7, Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Participation in election No. Absent from legal framework
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Number of candidates No. Absent from legal framework
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Share of seats in previous election No. Absent from legal framework
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Share of votes in next election No. Absent from legal framework
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Registration as a political party No. Absent from legal framework
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Share of seats in next election No. Absent from legal framework
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Number of members Yes. Our Minister shall grant a subsidy, after an application to that effect, to a political party where, on the reference date, said party has more than 1,000 members who have right of assembly and vote in the political party and who each pay an annual contribution fee of not less than 12 euros. The membership is to be demonstrated by an explicit declaration of intent of the persons involved. (Article 7.‌1 Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)
Eligibility criteria for direct public funding to political parties: Other No. Absent from legal framework

Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties

Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties: Proportional to votes received No. Absent from legal framework
Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties: Equal Yes. The subsidy shall not exceed the sum of the following amounts: a. a base sum of 173,240.82 euros, a sum of 50,247.81 euros per seat held by the political party and a sum per member of the political party equal to 1,896,891.33 euros divided by the total number of members of the political parties who receive a subsidy on the reference date; b. where, on the reference date, the political party has designated a political-scientific institute as a subsidiary institution, as provided for in article 2, a base sum of 121,675.08 euros and a sum of 12,506.55 euros per seat held by the political party; c. where, on the reference date, the political party has designated a political youth organization as a subsidiary institution, as provided for in article 3, a sum per seat held by the political party and a sum per member of the political youth organization, calculated in accordance with section two; d. where, on the reference date, the political party has designated an institution for foreign activities as a subsidiary institution, as provided for in article 4, a base sum and a sum per seat held by the political party, calculated in accordance with section three. 2. The sum per seat, as referred to in section one (c), is calculated by dividing 487,744.42 euros by the total number of seats held by the political parties which, on the reference date, have designated a political youth organization. The sum per member of the political youth organization is calculated by dividing 487,744.42 euros by the total number of members of all the designated political youth organizations. 3. The base sum, as referred to in section one (d), is calculated by dividing 623,833 euros by the total number of political parties which, on the reference date, have designated an institution for foreign activities. The sum per seat, as referred to in section one (d), is calculated by dividing 897,711 euros by the total number of seats held by political parties which, on the reference date, have designated an institution for foreign activities. 4. For the purposes of sections one to three, the reference date shall be taken as a starting point for the determination of the number of seats held by a political party, the number of members of a political party and the number of members of a political youth organization. 5. The amounts mentioned in sections one to three are to be reviewed on an annual basis on 1 January by ministerial decree, in accordance with the wage and price adjustments applied to the general state budget and rounded to the nearest whole number. (Article 8 Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)
Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties: Proportional to seats received Yes. The subsidy shall not exceed the sum of the following amounts: a. a base sum of 173,240.82 euros, a sum of 50,247.81 euros per seat held by the political party and a sum per member of the political party equal to 1,896,891.33 euros divided by the total number of members of the political parties who receive a subsidy on the reference date; b. where, on the reference date, the political party has designated a political-scientific institute as a subsidiary institution, as provided for in article 2, a base sum of 121,675.08 euros and a sum of 12,506.55 euros per seat held by the political party; c. where, on the reference date, the political party has designated a political youth organization as a subsidiary institution, as provided for in article 3, a sum per seat held by the political party and a sum per member of the political youth organization, calculated in accordance with section two; d. where, on the reference date, the political party has designated an institution for foreign activities as a subsidiary institution, as provided for in article 4, a base sum and a sum per seat held by the political party, calculated in accordance with section three. 2. The sum per seat, as referred to in section one (c), is calculated by dividing 487,744.42 euros by the total number of seats held by the political parties which, on the reference date, have designated a political youth organization. The sum per member of the political youth organization is calculated by dividing 487,744.42 euros by the total number of members of all the designated political youth organizations. 3. The base sum, as referred to in section one (d), is calculated by dividing 623,833 euros by the total number of political parties which, on the reference date, have designated an institution for foreign activities. The sum per seat, as referred to in section one (d), is calculated by dividing 897,711 euros by the total number of seats held by political parties which, on the reference date, have designated an institution for foreign activities. 4. For the purposes of sections one to three, the reference date shall be taken as a starting point for the determination of the number of seats held by a political party, the number of members of a political party and the number of members of a political youth organization. 5. The amounts mentioned in sections one to three are to be reviewed on an annual basis on 1 January by ministerial decree, in accordance with the wage and price adjustments applied to the general state budget and rounded to the nearest whole number. (Article 8 Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)
Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties: Flat rate by votes received No. Absent from legal framework
Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties: Share of expenses reimbursed No. Absent from legal framework
Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties: Proportional to candidates fielded No. Absent from legal framework
Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties: Number of members No. Absent from legal framework
Allocation calculations for direct public funding to political parties: Other Yes. The subsidy shall not exceed the sum of the following amounts: a. a base sum of 173,240.82 euros, a sum of 50,247.81 euros per seat held by the political party and a sum per member of the political party equal to 1,896,891.33 euros divided by the total number of members of the political parties who receive a subsidy on the reference date; b. where, on the reference date, the political party has designated a political-scientific institute as a subsidiary institution, as provided for in article 2, a base sum of 121,675.08 euros and a sum of 12,506.55 euros per seat held by the political party; c. where, on the reference date, the political party has designated a political youth organization as a subsidiary institution, as provided for in article 3, a sum per seat held by the political party and a sum per member of the political youth organization, calculated in accordance with section two; d. where, on the reference date, the political party has designated an institution for foreign activities as a subsidiary institution, as provided for in article 4, a base sum and a sum per seat held by the political party, calculated in accordance with section three. 2. The sum per seat, as referred to in section one (c), is calculated by dividing 487,744.42 euros by the total number of seats held by the political parties which, on the reference date, have designated a political youth organization. The sum per member of the political youth organization is calculated by dividing 487,744.42 euros by the total number of members of all the designated political youth organizations. 3. The base sum, as referred to in section one (d), is calculated by dividing 623,833 euros by the total number of political parties which, on the reference date, have designated an institution for foreign activities. The sum per seat, as referred to in section one (d), is calculated by dividing 897,711 euros by the total number of seats held by political parties which, on the reference date, have designated an institution for foreign activities. 4. For the purposes of sections one to three, the reference date shall be taken as a starting point for the determination of the number of seats held by a political party, the number of members of a political party and the number of members of a political youth organization. 5. The amounts mentioned in sections one to three are to be reviewed on an annual basis on 1 January by ministerial decree, in accordance with the wage and price adjustments applied to the general state budget and rounded to the nearest whole number. (Article 8 Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)

Earmarking provisions for direct public funding to political parties

Earmarking provisions for direct public funding to political parties: Campaign spending Yes. 2. The subsidy is granted for expenses directly related to the following activities: a. political training and educational activities; b. dissemination of information; c. maintaining contacts with sister parties in countries other than The Netherlands and supporting training and educational activities for the benefit of the supervisory staff of said parties; d. political-scientific activities; e. activities aimed at the promotion of the political participation of young people; f. member canvassing; g. involving non-members in activities of the political party; h. canvassing, selection and guidance of holders of political office; i. activities within the framework of election campaigns. (Art. 7.2. Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)
Earmarking provisions for direct public funding to political parties: Ongoing party activities Yes. 2. The subsidy is granted for expenses directly related to the following activities: a. political training and educational activities; b. dissemination of information; c. maintaining contacts with sister parties in countries other than The Netherlands and supporting training and educational activities for the benefit of the supervisory staff of said parties; d. political-scientific activities; e. activities aimed at the promotion of the political participation of young people; f. member canvassing; g. involving non-members in activities of the political party; h. canvassing, selection and guidance of holders of political office; i. activities within the framework of election campaigns. (Art. 7.2. Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)
Earmarking provisions for direct public funding to political parties: Intra-party institution Yes. 2. The subsidy is granted for expenses directly related to the following activities: a. political training and educational activities; b. dissemination of information; c. maintaining contacts with sister parties in countries other than The Netherlands and supporting training and educational activities for the benefit of the supervisory staff of said parties; d. political-scientific activities; e. activities aimed at the promotion of the political participation of young people; f. member canvassing; g. involving non-members in activities of the political party; h. canvassing, selection and guidance of holders of political office; i. activities within the framework of election campaigns. (Art. 7.2. Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)
Earmarking provisions for direct public funding to political parties: Other No. Absent from legal framework

Allocation criteria for free or subsidized access to media for political parties

Allocation criteria for free or subsidized access to media for political parties: Equal Yes. 1. The Commissioner shall designate each year a number of hours on the general program channels of the national public service media to political parties at the last election of the members of the Lower or Upper House of Parliament one or more seats have acquired. 2. The Commissioner shall designate a number of hours on the general program channels of the national public service media to: a. Political parties participating in all constituencies in the election of the members of the House of Representatives; and b. political parties taking part in the Netherlands in the election of the Members of the European Parliament. (Article 6.‌1 Media Act, 2008, amended 2016 )
Allocation criteria for free or subsidized access to media for political parties: Number of candidates No. Absent from legal framework
Allocation criteria for free or subsidized access to media for political parties: Share of seats No. Absent from legal framework
Allocation criteria for free or subsidized access to media for political parties: Share of votes in preceding election No. Absent from legal framework
Allocation criteria for free or subsidized access to media for political parties: Other No. Absent from legal framework
Are there provisions for free or subsidized access to media for candidates? No. Absent from legal framework

Are there provisions for any other form of indirect public funding?

Provisions for any other form of indirect public funding: Premises for campaign meetings No. Absent from legal framework
Provisions for any other form of indirect public funding: Space for campaign materials No. Absent from legal framework
Provisions for any other form of indirect public funding: Tax relief Yes. 6.32. Deductible donations are: a. regular donations; b. other gifts. 6.33. In this section and the provisions based thereon, the following definitions apply: a. gifts: bevoordelingen out of generosity and mandatory contributions where there is no direct consideration in return; b. settings: public benefit organizations; c. associations: not subject to corporation or its exempt associations with full legal and at least 25 members, established in a Member State of the European Union, Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, a power designated by ministerial order or on the BES islands. (Art 6.32 and 6.33, Law on Income Tax, 2001, amended 2016)
Provisions for any other form of indirect public funding: Free or subsidised transport No. Absent from legal framework
Provisions for any other form of indirect public funding: Free or subsidised postage cost No. Absent from legal framework
Provisions for any other form of indirect public funding: Other No. Absent from legal framework
Is the provision of direct public funding to political parties related to gender equality among candidates? No. Absent from legal framework
Are there provisions for other financial advantages to encourage gender equality in political parties? No. Absent from legal framework

Regulations on spending 

Is there a ban on vote buying? Yes. 1. A person who, by means of a gift or promise, bribes a voter to give him a proxy authorisation to vote on his behalf shall be liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or a third-category fine. 2. A person who, by means of a gift or promise, bribes a voter or otherwise compels him to issue a declaration as referred to in section H 4, subsection 1, in support of a list, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or a third-category fine. 3. A voter who allows himself to be bribed by means of a gift or promise to grant a proxy authorisation or issue a declaration of support shall be liable to the same penalty. (Section Z4(1), Elections Law, No.​ 28, 1989, amended 2016)
Are there bans on state resources being used in favour or against a political party or candidate? No. Absent from legal framework
Are there limits on the amount a political party can spend? No. Absent from legal framework
Are there limits on the amount a candidate can spend? No. Absent from legal framework

Reporting, oversight and sanctions 

Reporting standards

Do political parties have to report regularly on their finances? Yes. 1. Prior to 1 July of each calendar year, a political party shall send the following to Our Minister: a. a financial report covering the preceding calendar year, comprising the data included in the records pursuant to article 20; b. a summary of contributions of 4,500 euros or more per donor and received by the party in that calendar year, with the data registered pursuant to article 21, section one; c. a summary of debts of 25,000 euros or more, with the data registered pursuant to article 21, section three, and d. the written declaration of the auditor, as referred to in section three. (Art 25, Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)
Do political parties have to report on their finances in relation to election campaigns? No. Absent from legal framework
Do candidates have to report on their campaign finances? No. Absent from legal framework
Is information in reports from political parties and/​or candidates to be made public? Yes. Financial report provided to Our Minister are public. (Art.‌ 25.‌4 Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)
Must reports from political parties and/​or candidates reveal the identity of donors? Yes. 1. Prior to 1 July of each calendar year, a political party shall send the following to Our Minister: a. a financial report covering the preceding calendar year, comprising the data included in the records pursuant to article 20; b. a summary of contributions of 4,500 euros or more per donor and received by the party in that calendar year, with the data registered pursuant to article 21, section one; c. a summary of debts of 25,000 euros or more, with the data registered pursuant to article 21, section three, and d. the written declaration of the auditor, as referred to in section three. (Art.‌ 25.‌1.‌b Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)
Institutions receiving financial reports from political parties and/​or candidates
Institutions receiving financial reports from political parties and/​or candidates: Electoral Management Board No. Absent from legal framework
Institutions receiving financial reports from political parties and/​or candidates: Auditing agency No. Absent from legal framework
Institutions receiving financial reports from political parties and/​or candidates: Ministry Yes. 1. There shall be a supervisory committee on the finances of political parties, hereinafter referred to as: the committee. 2. The committee shall consist of three members. The members are appointed by Our Minister for a maximum period of four years. Members of the committee may be re-appointed a maximum of two times and for a maximum period of four years on each occasion. 3. The duty of the committee is to counsel Our Minister regarding the application of: a. article 5, section three; b. article 25, section five (3), article 28, section three (4), article 29, section four (4), article 30, section four (3) and article 32, section four (4), and c. article 37, section one. 4. The committee, for the purposes of the task referred to in section three (c) may counsel Our Minister as regards overseeing compliance with the present law. 5. Our Minister shall make available to the committee such data. as may be necessary for the proper fulfilment of its duties, whether or not such data is requested. 6. Rules governing the procedure of the committee may be established by or by virtue of an order in council. (Art. 35, Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)
Institutions receiving financial reports from political parties and/​or candidates: Special institution No. Absent from legal framework
Institutions receiving financial reports from political parties and/​or candidates: Court No. Absent from legal framework
Institutions receiving financial reports from political parties and/​or candidates: Other No. Absent from legal framework

Political finance oversight

Is it specified that a particular institution(s) is responsible for examining financial reports and/​or investigating violations?
Institution responsible for examining financial reports and/or investigating violations: Court No. Absent from legal framework
Institution responsible for examining financial reports and/or investigating violations: Ministry No. Absent from legal framework
Institution responsible for examining financial reports and/or investigating violations: Auditing agency No. Absent from legal framework
Institution responsible for examining financial reports and/or investigating violations: Electoral Management Body No. Absent from legal framework
Institution responsible for examining financial reports and/or investigating violations: Institution for this purpose Yes. Supervisory committee on the finances of political parties (Art.35 , Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)
Institution responsible for examining financial reports and/or investigating violations: Other No. Absent from legal framework
Other institutions with a formal role in political finance oversight
Institutions with a formal role in political finance oversight: Court No. Absent from legal framework
Institutions with a formal role in political finance oversight: Ministry No. Absent from legal framework
Institutions with a formal role in political finance oversight: Auditing agency No. Absent from legal framework
Institutions with a formal role in political finance oversight: EMB No. Absent from legal framework
Institutions with a formal role in political finance oversight: Institution for this purpose No. Absent from legal framework
Institutions with a formal role in political finance oversight: Other Yes. 1. The supervision of compliance with the terms established by or by virtue of articles 20, 21, 23, 25, 26, 27, sections three and four, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 and 33, shall be incumbent upon such persons as are designated by order of Our Minister. (Art.36 , Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)
Sanctions for political finance infractions
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Fines Yes. 1. Our Minister may determine to impose an administrative penalty in respect of any act or omission which is in breach of that established by or by virtue of articles 20, section one, preamble and under b and (e), 21, sections one and three, 23, section one, 25, section one, preamble and under a, b, c and d, section two, 27, sections three and four, 28, section one, preamble and under a and b, and section two, 29, sections one, two and five, 30, section one or two, preamble and under a and b, 31, sections Bulletin of Acts and Decrees 2013 93 19 one, two and three, 32, section one or two, and 33, section one or two. 2. In section one, articles 30, 31, 32 and 33 are to be taken in connection with the provisions applied mutatis mutandis in these articles. 3. Fines may be imposed on the political party, the subsidiary institution, the association, referred to in article 31, or on the candidate, referred to in article 32. 4. In respect of any act or omission which is in breach of one of the article sections or parts thereof mentioned in section one, the fine applied shall be of a maximum of 25,000 euros. 1. Where a political party, is sentenced, on the basis of articles 137c, d, e, f, or g, or article 429 (4) of the Dutch Criminal Code, to pay a monetary fine, entitlement to any subsidy shall be cancelled ipso iure during a period starting on the day when the conviction becomes irrevocable. Said period shall be: a. one year, if the monetary fine is less than 1,125 euros; b. two years, if the monetary fine is 1,125 euros or more but less than 2,250 euros; c. three years, if the monetary fine is 2,250 euros or more but less than 3,375 euros, and d. four years, if the monetary fine is 3,375 euros or more. (Art. 37/39, Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Loss of public funding Yes. 2. If a political party is convicted for a terrorist offence as provided for in article 83 of the Dutch Criminal Code, entitlement to any subsidy shall be cancelled ipso iure for a period of four years starting on the day when the conviction becomes irrevocable. 3. If an association, on the day when the conviction, as provided for in section one or two, becomes irrevocable, is not eligible for a subsidy and this association, within a period of two years after this day, becomes eligible for a subsidy as a political party, its entitlement to a subsidy shall be cancelled ipso iure starting on the day when the party becomes eligible for a subsidy, for the period, as referred to in the section one or two. (Art. 39, Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Penal/Criminal Yes. A person who, by means of a gift or promise, bribes a voter to give him a proxy authorisation to vote on his behalf shall be liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or a third-‌category fine.‌ (Section Z4(1), Elections Law, No.​ 28, 1989, amended 2009)
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Forfeiture No. Absent from legal framework
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Deregistration of party No. Absent from legal framework
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Loss of elected office No. Absent from legal framework
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Suspension of political party No. Absent from legal framework
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Loss of nomination of candidate No. Absent from legal framework
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Loss of political rights No. Absent from legal framework
Sanctions for political finance infractions: Other Yes. 1. Where a political party, is sentenced, on the basis of articles 137c, d, e, f, or g, or article 429 (4) of the Dutch Criminal Code, to pay a monetary fine, entitlement to any subsidy shall be cancelled ipso iure during a period starting on the day when the conviction becomes irrevocable. Said period shall be: a. one year, if the monetary fine is less than 1,125 euros; b. two years, if the monetary fine is 1,125 euros or more but less than 2,250 euros; c. three years, if the monetary fine is 2,250 euros or more but less than 3,375 euros, and d. four years, if the monetary fine is 3,375 euros or more. (Art. 39, Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016)

Legislation

Law on Financing of Political Parties, 2013, amended 2016 (Dutch)pdf
Elections Law, No.​ 28, 1989, amended 2016 (Dutch)pdf
Law on Income Tax, 2001, amended 2016 (Dutch)pdf
Media Act, 2008, amended 2016 (Dutch)pdf

*Last update: 2017


Financial Disclosure

Dutch law makes no disclosure requirements for Ministers. According to the Rules of Procedure of the House of Representatives (2016), Members of Parliament are required to disclose income from outside employment, received gifts, and any outside positions and interests, such as advisory positions. Meanwhile, the Law on Civil Servants (1929, last amended in 2016) asks Civil Servants to disclose any secondary positions they pursue and financial interests. Real estate or bank deposits are not included in Civil Servants’ disclosure.

Members of Parliament make their statements annually, and directly upon changes. All the while, no sanctions are specified for MP’s violating disclosure laws. Meanwhile, Civil Servants declare interests ad hoc should any changes occur. Should they fail to make financial disclosure statements, Civil Servants may face a fine or administrative sanctions. While the Secretary General of the respective Chamber receives statements made by MPs, the respective Minister functions as depository body for Civil Servants. No financial disclosure statements are made publicly available. However, the House of Representatives voluntarily publishes MPs declarations.

(Note: The Head of State is a monarch and thus exempted from disclosure laws.)


Quantitative Data

Primary Metric

20122015201620172020Trend
Disclosure items1111111111
Filing frequency1919191919
Sanctions88888
Monitoring and Oversight1212121212
Public access to declarations1212121212

Alternative Metric

20122015201620172020Trend
Head of State00000
Ministers00000
Members of Parliament3030303030
Civil servants2020202020

Values lie in range between 0 and 100, higher values implying higher legislation comprehensiveness


Qualitative Data

We are frequently reviewing and refining our data, so in case you notice any mistake in our assessment, feel free to send us an email by clicking the button ()

Head of State

Disclosure items

Spouses and children included in disclosure No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Income and Assets
Real estate No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Movable assets No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Cash No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Loans and Debts No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Income from outside employment/assets No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Incompatibilities
Gifts received as a public official No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Private firm ownership and/or stock holdings No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Ownership of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Holding government contracts No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Board member, advisor, or company officer of private firm No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Post-employment No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Simultaneously holding policy-making position and policy-executing position No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Participating in official decision-making processes that affect private interests No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Concurrent employment of family members in public sector No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)

Filing frequency

Filing required upon taking office No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Filing required upon leaving office No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Filing required annually No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Ad hoc filing required upon change in assets or conflicts of interest No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)

Sanctions

Sanctions stipulated for late filing (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Sanctions stipulated for non-filing (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Sanctions stipulated for false disclosure (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)

Monitoring and Oversight

Depository body explicitly identified No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Enforcement body explicitly identified No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Some agency assigned responsibility for verifying submission No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Some agency assigned responsibility for verifying accuracy No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)

Public access to declarations

Public availability No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Timing of information release specified No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Location(s) of access specified No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Cost of access specified No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)

Ministers

Disclosure items

Spouses and children included in disclosure No. Absent from legal framework. (Although future ministers and state secretaries are to report conflicting interests during the formation of a new government, this exercise stands largely behind closed doors. More importantly, there are no declarations or reporting obligations upon cabinet members during their mandate. The GET believes that the transparency over financial and business interests of cabinet members (and political assistants, as appropriate) needs to be considerably enhanced through a regulatory framework requiring declarations at the beginning of their mandate and at regular interval during the mandate concerning assets, income, liabilities and other interests. (Fifth evaluation round, 2019 Evaluation report, paragraph 100, page 21))
Income and Assets
Real estate No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Movable assets No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Cash No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Loans and Debts No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Income from outside employment/assets No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Incompatibilities
Gifts received as a public official No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Private firm ownership and/or stock holdings No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Ownership of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Holding government contracts No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Board member, advisor, or company officer of private firm No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Post-employment No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Simultaneously holding policy-making position and policy-executing position No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Participating in official decision-making processes that affect private interests No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Concurrent employment of family members in public sector No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Filing frequency

Filing required upon taking office No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Filing required upon leaving office No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Filing required annually No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Ad hoc filing required upon change in assets or conflicts of interest No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Sanctions

Sanctions stipulated for late filing (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Sanctions stipulated for non-filing (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Sanctions stipulated for false disclosure (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Monitoring and Oversight

Depository body explicitly identified No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Enforcement body explicitly identified No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Some agency assigned responsibility for verifying submission No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Some agency assigned responsibility for verifying accuracy No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Public access to declarations

Public availability No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Timing of information release specified No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Cost of access specified No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Members of Parliament

Disclosure items

Spouses and children included in disclosure No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Income and Assets
Real estate No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Movable assets No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Cash No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Loans and Debts No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Income from outside employment/assets Yes. Members of the House of Representatives are required to report their outside positions and interests, with the yearly income or expected income from these positions. Members of the Senate must disclose their outside positions interests. (Art. 150a Rules of Procedure of the House of Representatives (2018) Art. 3b, Law on the Renumeration of Members of the First Chamber (1995, last amended 2020) Art. 6, Senate Code of Conduct on Integrity (2019))
Incompatibilities
Gifts received as a public official Yes. Members of the States General are not subject to any restrictions from accepting gifts. Members of the House of Representatives (Second Chamber) have to register gifts which have a value in excess of 50EUR, as well as foreign travel at the invitation of third parties . Members of the Senate state the gifts received by them in their capacity as members of the House with a value greater than 50 euros, no later than one week after receipt of the gift. Deckarations are kept in a register which is available for inspection by everyone. (Art. 150a Rules of Procedure of the House of Representatives (2018) Art. 4, Senate Code of Conduct on Integrity (2019))
Private firm ownership and/or stock holdings Yes. Members of the House of Representatives are required to report their outside positions and interests, with the yearly income or expected income from these positions. Members of the Senate must disclose their outside positions interests. (Art. 150a Rules of Procedure of the House of Representatives (2018) Art. 3b, Law on the Renumeration of Members of the First Chamber (1995, last amended 2020) Art. 6, Senate Code of Conduct on Integrity (2019))
Ownership of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) Yes. Members of the House of Representatives are required to report their outside positions and interests, with the yearly income or expected income from these positions. Members of the Senate must disclose their outside positions interests. (Art. 150a Rules of Procedure of the House of Representatives (2018) Art. 3b, Law on the Renumeration of Members of the First Chamber (1995, last amended 2020) Art. 6, Senate Code of Conduct on Integrity (2019))
Holding government contracts No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Board member, advisor, or company officer of private firm Yes. Members of the House of Representatives are required to report their outside positions and interests, with the yearly income or expected income from these positions. Members of the Senate must disclose their outside positions interests. (Art. 150a Rules of Procedure of the House of Representatives (2018) Art. 6 Senate Code of Conduct on Integrity (2019))
Post-employment No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Simultaneously holding policy-making position and policy-executing position Yes. The elected MPs or their agents, before taking up their duties, must file with the representative assembly a declaration disclosing all public offices they hold. (Article 57, Constitution (1815, last amendend in 2018) Section V3, Elections Act (1989, last amended in 2020))
Participating in official decision-making processes that affect private interests No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Concurrent employment of family members in public sector No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Filing frequency

Filing required upon taking office No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Filing required upon leaving office No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Filing required annually Yes. MPs in the House of Representatives are required to declare their outside income no later than the first April following the calendar year within which the income was received. (GRECO Evaluation Report Netherlands, 2012, para. 53) (Art. 150a Rules of Procedure of the House of Representatives (2018))
Ad hoc filing required upon change in assets or conflicts of interest Yes. MPs in the House of Represenatives shall declare any secondary activities within one week of beginning the activity. (Art. 150a Rules of Procedure of the House of Representatives (2018))

Sanctions

Sanctions stipulated for late filing (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) No. The Internal Committee makes no judgment until it has given the member or members concerned the opportunity to be heard. It can formulate recommendations in its assessment. A conscious choice was made for recommendations and not for sanctions. Formal sanctions such as (total) suspension or disqualification from membership of the House are not compatible with the constitutionally enshrined free mandate of the members. Representatives have enforcement body and no sanctions ( Explanation of Art. 10, Senate Code of Conduct on Integrity (2019))
Sanctions stipulated for non-filing (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) No. For Senators, the Internal Committee makes no judgment until it has given the member or members concerned the opportunity to be heard. It can formulate recommendations in its assessment. A conscious choice was made for recommendations and not for sanctions. Formal sanctions such as (total) suspension or disqualification from membership of the House are not compatible with the constitutionally enshrined free mandate of the members. Representatives have enforcement body and no sanctions ( Explanation of Art. 10, Senate Code of Conduct on Integrity (2019))
Sanctions stipulated for false disclosure (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) No. For Senators, The Internal Committee makes no judgment until it has given the member or members concerned the opportunity to be heard. It can formulate recommendations in its assessment. A conscious choice was made for recommendations and not for sanctions. Formal sanctions such as (total) suspension or disqualification from membership of the House are not compatible with the constitutionally enshrined free mandate of the members. Representatives have enforcement body and no sanctions ( Explanation of Art. 10, Senate Code of Conduct on Integrity (2019))

Monitoring and Oversight

Depository body explicitly identified Yes. The Secretary General of the respective Chamber is assigned to received conflict of interest declarations. (Art. 150a Rules of Procedure of the House of Representatives (2018) Art. 3b, Law on the Renumeration of Members of the First Chamber (1995, last amended 2020) )
Enforcement body explicitly identified No. For Senators, the Internal Committee supervises compliance with this Code of Conduct and gives judgments on its interpretation. For Represetatives Greco Authorities indicate that following a motion of the House of Representatives, the Presidium is elaborating a proposal concerning supervision andenforcement. In this respect, a role for the Speaker and the Presidium is being considered, though nothing concrete yet exists. (Art. 10, Senate Code of Conduct on Integrity (2019))
Some agency assigned responsibility for verifying submission No. For Senators, the Internal Committee may, at the request of one or more members or on its own initiative, assess whether a member of the House has acted in accordance with Articles 1 to 6 in a specific case . The Internal Committee can make recommendations in this regard. (Art. 10, Senate Code of Conduct on Integrity (2019))
Some agency assigned responsibility for verifying accuracy No. For Senators. the Internal Committee may, at the request of one or more members or on its own initiative, assess whether a member of the House has acted in accordance with Articles 1 to 6 in a specific case . The Internal Committee can make recommendations in this regard. (Art. 10, Senate Code of Conduct on Integrity (2019))

Public access to declarations

Public availability Yes. Registered gifts and travels can be consulted on the website of the House of representatives. The register of senators’ accessory activities is available at the Secretary General’s office for the inspection of the media and the public and is also published on the Senate website 19 under the CV of each member (Art. 6, Senate Code of Conduct on Integrity (2019))
Timing of information release specified No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Location(s) of access specified Yes. Senate website (Art. 6, Senate Code of Conduct on Integrity (2019))
Cost of access specified No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Civil servants

Disclosure items

Spouses and children included in disclosure No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Income and Assets
Real estate No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Movable assets No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Cash No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Loans and Debts No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Income from outside employment/assets Yes. The Dutch Law on Civil Servants demands the disclosure of secondary activities and financial interests that may affect the fulfillment of their duties as civil servants. (Art. 5 (b,c), Art. (8.2), Civil Servants Act 2017 (amendeded 2019))
Incompatibilities
Gifts received as a public official No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Private firm ownership and/or stock holdings Yes. The Dutch Law on Civil Servants demands the disclosure of secondary activities and financial interests that may affect the fulfillment of their duties as civil servants. (Art. 5 (b,c), Art. (8.2), Civil Servants Act 2017 (amendeded 2019))
Ownership of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) Yes. The Dutch Law on Civil Servants demands the disclosure of secondary activities and financial interests that may affect the fulfillment of their duties as civil servants. (Art. 5 (b,c), Art. (8.2), Civil Servants Act 2017 (amendeded 2019))
Holding government contracts No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Board member, advisor, or company officer of private firm Yes. The Dutch Law on Civil Servants demands the disclosure of secondary activities and financial interests that may affect the fulfillment of their duties as civil servants. A Dutch civil servants cannot supply services to third parties without official permission. Secondary activities have to be disclosed. (Art. 5 (b,c), Art. (8.2), Civil Servants Act 2017 (amendeded 2019))
Post-employment No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Simultaneously holding policy-making position and policy-executing position No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Participating in official decision-making processes that affect private interests No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Concurrent employment of family members in public sector No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Filing frequency

Filing required upon taking office No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Filing required upon leaving office No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Filing required annually No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Ad hoc filing required upon change in assets or conflicts of interest Yes. Secondary activities and financial interests shall be reported to the respective government employer . (Art. 5 (b,c), Art. (8.2), Civil Servants Act 2017 (amendeded 2019))

Sanctions

Sanctions stipulated for late filing (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Sanctions stipulated for non-filing (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) Yes. If a civil servant does not fulfil his duty he can be sanctioned by fines and administrative procedures. (Art. 363, Penal Code (1881, last amended in 2020) )
Sanctions stipulated for false disclosure (fines, administrative, and/or criminal) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Monitoring and Oversight

Depository body explicitly identified Yes. Secondary activities and financial interests shall be reported to the respective government employer. (Art. 5 (b,c), Art. (8.2), Civil Servants Act 2017 (amendeded 2019))
Enforcement body explicitly identified No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Some agency assigned responsibility for verifying submission No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Some agency assigned responsibility for verifying accuracy No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Public access to declarations

Public availability No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Timing of information release specified No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Location(s) of access specified No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Cost of access specified No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Legislation

Constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands of 1815_DUT (Dutch)pdf
Rules of Procedure of the House of Representatives of 2018_DUT.pdf (Dutch)pdf
Law on the Remuneration of Members of the First Chamber of 1995_DUT (Dutch)pdf
Civil Service Act of 2017_DUT (Dutch)pdf
Senate Code of Conduct on Integrity of 2019_DUT (Dutch)pdf
Penal Code of 1881_DUT (Dutch)pdf
Elections Act of 1989_DUT (Dutch)pdf

*Last update: 2017


Conflict of Interest

Few legislative restrictions govern conflicts of interests for Dutch public officials. For Ministers and Members of Parliament, the Constitution (2008) only specifies that simultaneously holding a policy-making and policy-executing position is not allowed. The Rules of Procedure of the Second Chamber (2016) generally restricts conflict of interest and provides for the registration of the gifts. Civil Servants are only restricted from accepting any gifts as to the Law on Civil Servants (1929, amended in 2016). There are no limits as to secondary employment that can be pursued, or as to participating in decisions that affect private interests.

In line with the few requirements made, the law specifies no sanctions for public officials who violate existing rules on conflicts of interests. Additionally, the Netherlands does not have monitoring or enforcement bodies to provide guidance or supervise conflicts of interests.

(Note: The Head of State is a monarch and thus exempted from conflicts of interests laws.)


Quantitative Data

Primary Metric

20122015201620172020Trend
Restrictions585105
Sanctions00000
Monitoring and Oversight00000

Alternative Metric

20122015201620172020Trend
Head of State00000
Ministers33333
Members of Parliament33373
Civil servants03030

Values lie in range between 0 and 100, higher values implying higher legislation comprehensiveness


Qualitative Data

We are frequently reviewing and refining our data, so in case you notice any mistake in our assessment, feel free to send us an email by clicking the button ()

Head of State

Restrictions

General restriction on conflict of interest No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Accepting gifts No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Private firm ownership and/or stock holdings No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Ownership of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Holding government contracts No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Board member, advisor, or company officer of private firm No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Post-employment No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Simultaneously holding policy-making position and policy-executing position No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Participating in official decision-making processes that affect private interests No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Assisting family or friends in obtaining employment in public sector No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)

Sanctions

Fines are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Administrative sanctions are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Penal sanctions are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)

Monitoring and Oversight

Monitoring body specified (guidance, training, data tracking) No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)
Enforcement body specified (sanctions, hearings) No. Head of state is monarch. Legal provisions do not apply. (General)

Ministers

Restrictions

General restriction on conflict of interest No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Accepting gifts No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Private firm ownership and/or stock holdings No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Ownership of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Holding government contracts No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Board member, advisor, or company officer of private firm No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Post-employment No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Simultaneously holding policy-making position and policy-executing position Yes. The office of a Minister or Secretary of State is incompatible with membership of the States General, which until about decision is taken. (Article 57(3) of the Constitution (2008))
Participating in official decision-making processes that affect private interests No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Assisting family or friends in obtaining employment in public sector No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Sanctions

Fines are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Administrative sanctions are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Penal sanctions are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Monitoring and Oversight

Monitoring body specified (guidance, training, data tracking) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Enforcement body specified (sanctions, hearings) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Members of Parliament

Restrictions

General restriction on conflict of interest No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Accepting gifts No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Private firm ownership and/or stock holdings No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Ownership of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Holding government contracts No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Board member, advisor, or company officer of private firm No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Post-employment No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Simultaneously holding policy-making position and policy-executing position Yes. Noone may be a member of both chambers. A member of the States General may not be a Minister of State, Member of the Board State, Member of the Court of Audit, National Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman, member or Attorney General or Advocate General at the Supreme Court. If a member of the House of Representatives or the Senate is appointed to an office his membership of the House or Senate shall be terminated automatically. (Article 57(1-2) of the Constitution (2008) Section X3 (1) of the Elections Act (1989, amended in 2009))
Participating in official decision-making processes that affect private interests No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Assisting family or friends in obtaining employment in public sector No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Sanctions

Fines are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Administrative sanctions are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Penal sanctions are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Monitoring and Oversight

Monitoring body specified (guidance, training, data tracking) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Enforcement body specified (sanctions, hearings) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Civil servants

Restrictions

General restriction on conflict of interest No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Accepting gifts No. An official in his office prohibited, except with the consent of the competent authority, fees, rewards, gifts or pledges from third parties claim, request or adopt (Article 64 of the Law on Civil Servants (1929, amended in 2012))
Private firm ownership and/or stock holdings No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Ownership of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Holding government contracts No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Board member, advisor, or company officer of private firm No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Post-employment No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Simultaneously holding policy-making position and policy-executing position No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Participating in official decision-making processes that affect private interests No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Assisting family or friends in obtaining employment in public sector No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Sanctions

Fines are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Administrative sanctions are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Penal sanctions are stipulated for violations of COI regulations restricting behavior No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Monitoring and Oversight

Monitoring body specified (guidance, training, data tracking) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)
Enforcement body specified (sanctions, hearings) No. Absent from legal framework. (General)

Legislation

Constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands of 1815 (Dutch)pdf
Handbook for Ministers of and State Secretaries of 2019 (The Blue Book) (Dutch)pdf
Rules of Procedure of the House of Representatives of 2018 (Dutch)pdf
Senate Code of Conduct on Integrity of 2019 (English)pdf
Civil Service Act of 2017 (Dutch)pdf
Code of Conduct Integrity Central Government of 2019 (Dutch)pdf
Elections Act of 1989 (Dutch)pdf

*Last update: 2017


Freedom of Information

Netherland’s right to information is affirmed in the Constitution (2008), and the Public Access to Information Act (1991, amended 2016) lays out the implementing measures for the legal framework. The FOI law applies to ministers, the administrative bodies of provinces, municipalities, water and industrial organizations, and private bodies that carry out public functions.

Specific exemptions to disclosure are outlined in the aforementioned FOI law, Protection of State Secrets Law (1951), and Personal Data Protection Act (2000). However, there is a public interest test whereby exemptions to disclosure may be overridden in cases where the public interest outweighs the prohibition on disclosure.

Appeals may be filed with public authorities and with the courts. There is no appeals process through an independent non-judicial mechanism, such as an information commissioner.

There are no sanctions specified in the law for violations of FOI provisions, nor are there any enforcement or oversight bodies tasked with managing implementation.


Quantitative Data

Primary Metric

20122015201620172020Trend
Scope and Coverage7373737373
Information access and release7575757575
Exceptions and Overrides8383838383
Sanctions for non-compliance00000
Monitoring and Oversight00000

Values lie in range between 0 and 100, higher values implying higher legislation comprehensiveness


Qualitative Data

We are frequently reviewing and refining our data, so in case you notice any mistake in our assessment, feel free to send us an email by clicking the button ()

Scope and Coverage

Scope of disclosure

Existence of legal right to access Yes. In the exercise of their duties government bodies shall observe the right of public access to information in accordance with rules to be prescribed by Act of Parliament. (Article 110, Constitution of the Netherlands, amended 2018)
"Information" or "Documents" is defined Yes. a. document: a written document or other material containing data which is deposited with an administrative authority; b. administrative matter: a matter of relevance to the policies of an administrative authority, including the preparation and implementation of such policies; (Section 1 Public Access to Information Act 1991, amended 2018)
Proactive disclosure is specified Yes. Proactive disclosure of certain types of information is specified. Administrative authorities covered by the law shall proactively provide information on policy and the preparation and implementation thereof, whenever the provision of such information is in the interests of effective, democratic governance. The information should be in a comprehensible form and be presented in such a way as to reach the interested party and as many interested members of the public as possible in time for them to make their views known to the administrative authority in good time. Policy recommendations received from independent advisory committees, together with the requests for advice and proposals made to the advisory committees by an administrative authority, shall be made public where necessary, possibly with explanatory note within four weeks from receipt. (Section 8 and Section 9 Public Access to Information Act 1991, amended 2018)

Coverage of public and private sectors

Executive branch Yes. This Act applies to the following governing bodies: a. Ministers; . b the administrative bodies of provinces, municipalities, water and industrial organizations; . c administrative bodies acting under the responsibility of the bodies referred to under a and b; d. other administrative bodies, unless exempted by order in council. (Section 1a Public Access to Information Act 1991, amended 2018)
Legislative branch No. Absent from legal framework (General)
Judicial branch No. Absent from legal framework (General)
Other public bodies No. Absent from legal framework (General)
Private sector Yes. Private bodies which carry out public functions are covered by the law. (Section 3(1) Public Access to Information Act 1991, amended 2018)

Access to specific documents (subject to reactive and/or proactive disclosure)

Draft legal instruments No. As the legislature is not covered by the FOIA, draft legal instruments are not available to the public by law. In practice they are often published by the government for discussion. ( )
Enacted legal instruments Yes. An Act of Parliament shall not enter into force before it has been published in the Staatsblad (Official Gazette). (Article 88 Constitution of the Netherlands, amended 2018)
Annual budgets Yes. A Budget Bill setting out the central government budget is presented to parliament on the third Tuesday of September each year and should be passed into law by 1 January of the following year. Since the Executive is covered by the FOIA, the annual budgets should also be available through this. (Chapter 1 Government Accounts Act 2016, amended 2020 Section 1a Public Access to Information Act 1991, amended 2018)
Annual chart of accounts (actual expenditures) Yes. On the third Wednesday in May, the ministerial and non-ministerial annual reports audited by the Court of Audit, as well as the central government annual financial report audited by the Court of Audit for the previous year, are forwarded to the House of Representatives. The central government annual financial report is also forwarded to the Senate. Since the Executive is covered by the FOIA, the annual budgets should also be available through this. (Chapter 3-4 Government Accounts Act 2016, amended 2020 Section 1a Public Access to Information Act 1991, amended 2018 )
Annual reports of public entities and programs Yes. On the third Wednesday in May, the ministerial and non-ministerial annual reports audited by the Court of Audit, as well as the central government annual financial report audited by the Court of Audit for the previous year are forwarded to the House of Representatives. The central government annual financial report is also forwarded to the Senate. The annual financial reports contain information on operational and policy matters. Since the Executive is covered by the FOIA, the annual budgets should also be available through this. (Chapter 3-4 Government Accounts Act 2016, amended 2020 Section 1a Public Access to Information Act 1991, amended 2018 )

Information access and release

Procedural access

Universal access (agencies, citizens and non-citizens) Yes. The law stipulates that "anyone" may make an information request. ( Section 3(1) Public Access to Information Act 1991, amended 2018)
Type of request is specified (written, electronic, oral) No. Absent from legal framework (General)
Assistance to requesters must be provided by law (includes barriers due to language differences, illiteracy, complexity of requests, etc.) No. Absent from legal framework (General)
Cost of access is specified (free, request fees, photocopying costs, other administrative costs) Yes. Charges for copying are specified in a separate Decree. Up to six copies is free, 6-13 copies cost €4.50 and over 13 copies is €0.35 per copy. (Article 2(2) Decree of 5 February 1993 on the charges under the Freedom of Information Act)

Deadlines for release of information

20-day response deadline Yes. The administrative authority must decide on the application for information at the earliest possible opportunity, and in any event no more than two weeks after the date of receipt of the application. ( Section 6 Public Access to Information Act 1991, amended 2018)
Agency granted right to extend response time Yes. The administrative authority may defer the decision for no more than a further two weeks. The applicant shall be notified in writing, with reasons, of the deferment before the first two-week period has elapsed. ( Section 6 Public Access to Information Act 1991, amended 2018)
Maximum total response time of no more than 40 days Yes. The maximum response time is four weeks. ( Section 6 Public Access to Information Act 1991, amended 2018)

Exceptions and Overrides

Exemptions to disclosure

Existence of secrecy/states secrets law Yes. There is a state secrets law. The Penal Code also has a section on violation of secrets. (Protection of State Secrets Law 1951, amended 2012 Part XVII Penal Code, amended 2020)
Existence of personal privacy/data law Yes. The Constitution provides that everyone shall have the right to respect for his privacy, without prejudice to restrictions laid down by or pursuant to an Act of Parliament. The Personal Data Protection Act covers processing of and access to personal data. (Article 10(1) Constitution of the Netherlands, amended 2018 Implementing Act General Data Protection Regulation, 2018)
Specific exemptions to disclosure Yes. Information is exempted from disclosure for a variety of reasons include in if; it might endanger the unity of the Crown or damage the security of the State; the data relates to companies and manufacturing processes and were furnished to the government in confidence by natural or legal persons. Nor shall disclosure of information take place insofar as its importance does not outweigh one of the following: international relations; economic and financial interests of the State, other bodies constituted under public law or the administrative authorities; the investigation of criminal offences and the prosecution of offenders; inspection, control and oversight by administrative authorities; respect for personal privacy; the importance to the addressee of being the first to note the information; prevention of disproportionate advantage or disadvantage to the natural or legal persons concerned or to third parties; personal data without the consent of the data subject, state secrets, information classified under the Nuclear Energy Act; privacy; certain types of environmental information. (Section 10 Public Access to Information Act 1991, amended 2018 Chapter 3 Implementing Act General Data Protection Regulation, 2018 Section 98 Penal Code, amended 2020 Protection of State Secrets Act 1951, amended 2012)
Public Interest test: Specified exemptions to disclosure may be overridden in cases where disclosure of information benefits the public interest. Yes. Certain exceptions are subject to a public interest override, eg relations between the Netherlands and other states or international organisations; the economic and financial interests of the State or other specified public bodies, the investigation of criminal offences and the prosecution of offenders; inspection, control and oversight by administrative authorities;.respect for personal privacy. ( Section 10(2) Public Access to Information Act 1991, amended 2018)

Appeals

Appeals allowed within public entities Yes. Those who are not satisfied with the decision on an application for information can apply for reconsideration under the auspices of the administrative authority that refused the request. (Secton 6.4 and Section 7.1 General Administrative Law Act 1992, amended 2020)
Independent, non-judicial appeals mechanism, e.g., information commissioner. Does not include Ombudsman unless appeals decisions are binding. No. Absent from legal framework (General)
Judicial appeals mechanism Yes. If the outcome of an internal appeal is unsatisfactory, an appeal can be made to the administrative sector of the District Court for a court judgment. If that is unsatisfactory, it is possible to launch an appeal to the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State. (Secton 8.1 and Section 8.9 General Administrative Law Act 1992, amended 2020)

Sanctions for non-compliance

Administrative sanctions are specified for violations of disclosure requirements No. Absent from legal framework (General)
Fines are specified for violations of disclosure requirements No. Absent from legal framework (General)
Criminal sanctions are specified for violations of disclosure requirements No. Absent from legal framework (General)

Monitoring and Oversight

Information officers must be appointed in public agencies No. Absent from legal framework (General)
Public body that is responsible for applying sanctions No. Absent from legal framework (General)
Public body that is responsible for public outreach (raising public awareness) No. Absent from legal framework (General)
Nodal agency for RTI (implementation support/compliance within public sector). Does not include Ombudsman. No. Absent from legal framework (General)
Ombudsman involvement in implementation is specified by law No. Absent from legal framework (General)
Reporting of data and/or implementation is required No. Absent from legal framework

Legislation

Constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands of 1815_DUT (Dutch)pdf
Public Access to Information Act of 1991_DUT (Dutch)pdf
Government Accounts Act of 2016_DUT (Dutch)pdf
Decree on Tariffs for Public Access to Government of 1993_DUT (Dutch)pdf
Protection of State Secrets Act of 1951_DUT (Dutch)pdf
Penal Code of 1881_DUT (Dutch)pdf
General Data Protection Regulation Implementation Act of 2018_DUT (Dutch)pdf
General Administrative Law Act of 1992_DUT (Dutch)pdf

*Last update: 2017


Public Procurement

The Dutch public procurement system is regulated by the Public Procurement Decree (Aanbestedingswet) and the Proportionality Guide (Proportionaliteitsgids), and several further sector specific regulations. The public procurement body is the Autoriteit Consument en Markt which is an independent organization.

There is no minimum threshold at the national level for conducting a public procurement tender, hence the effective thresholds come from the EU regulation:

▪          EUR 135,000 for goods

▪          EUR 5,225,000 for works

▪          EUR 135,000 for services

The minimum number of bidders is 5 for restricted procedures and 3 for negotiated procedures and competitive dialogue. The minimum submission period is 45 days for open procedures, 70 days for restricted procedures and 70 for negotiated procedures from dispatch date. The final beneficial owners do not have to be disclosed when placing a bid.

There is a possibility for preferential treatment: SMEs can be taken into account, and there are specific rules for green/sustainable procurement.

There are also several options for bid exclusion: participation in criminal organization, money laundering, convictions regarding professional capacity/misconduct, outstanding tax or social security liabilities, and false information in the bid. Bids can be also excluded because of abnormally low bid prices.

In the bid evaluation phase, there are conflict of interest restrictions on the composition of the evaluation committee. However, no form of independence of  the contracting authority is mandated for the evaluation committee.

There is a fee to be paid in arbitration procedures but the value in not set in law. There is no indication if court decisions must be publicly released.


Quantitative Data

Primary Metric

20122015201620172020Trend
Scope342847
Information availability71712133
Evaluation69697569
Open competition83838983
Institutional arrangements21212121

Values lie in range between 0 and 100, higher values implying higher legislation comprehensiveness


Qualitative Data

We are frequently reviewing and refining our data, so in case you notice any mistake in our assessment, feel free to send us an email by clicking the button ()

Scope

Threshold - lowest PP

What is the minimum contract value above which the public procurement law is applied? (Product type GOODS) EUR 139000. There are no binding legal rules for the minimum contract value below which the contract may be awarded directly. The contracting authority has discretion to determine whether a direct award is appropriate for a contract with a value below European thresholds taking the possible cross-border interest into account. However, the Dutch state has created a soft law document concerning the proportionality of decisions for contracting authority, in which it gives approximations (Section 3.4.2 Gids Proportionaliteit). The soft law threshold for direct awards of supply contracts is EUR 40,000. Additionally, the Tendering Regulations for Works 2016 (ARW 2016) describes the procedures for tendering works contracts. Pursuant to the Procurement Act 2012 and the Procurement Decree, a contracting authority is obliged to apply the ARW 2016 for public contracts for works below the European threshold values ​​according to the 'apply or explain' principle. This only applies to contracting authorities within the meaning of the Public Procurement Act and not to other contractors. Contracting authorities are free to use the ARW 2016 for contracts for supply and service contracts. Contracting authorities are also free to use the ARW 2016 for contracts above the European threshold values. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.2, 2.3 and 2.7)
What is the minimum contract value above which the public procurement law is applied? (Product type WORKS) EUR 5350000. There are no binding legal rules for the minimum contract value below which the contract may be awarded directly. The contracting authority has discretion to determine whether a direct award is appropriate for a contract with a value below European thresholds taking the possible cross-border interest into account. However, the Dutch state has created a soft law document concerning the proportionality of decisions for contracting authority, in which it gives approximations (Section 3.4.2 Gids Proportionaliteit). The soft law threshold for direct awards of works contracts is EUR 150,000. Additionally, the Tendering Regulations for Works 2016 (ARW 2016) describes the procedures for tendering works contracts. Pursuant to the Procurement Act 2012 and the Procurement Decree, a contracting authority is obliged to apply the ARW 2016 for public contracts for works below the European threshold values ​​according to the 'apply or explain' principle. This only applies to contracting authorities within the meaning of the Public Procurement Act and not to other contractors. Contracting authorities are free to use the ARW 2016 for contracts for supply and service contracts. Contracting authorities are also free to use the ARW 2016 for contracts above the European threshold values. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.1 and 2.7)
What is the minimum contract value above which the public procurement law is applied? (Product type SERVICES) EUR 139000. There are no binding legal rules for the minimum contract value below which the contract may be awarded directly. The contracting authority has discretion to determine whether a direct award is appropriate for a contract with a value below European thresholds taking the possible cross-border interest into account. However, the Dutch state has created a soft law document concerning the proportionality of decisions for contracting authority, in which it gives approximations (Section 3.4.2 Gids Proportionaliteit). The soft law threshold for direct awards of supply contracts is EUR 40,000. Additionally, the Tendering Regulations for Works 2016 (ARW 2016) describes the procedures for tendering works contracts. Pursuant to the Procurement Act 2012 and the Procurement Decree, a contracting authority is obliged to apply the ARW 2016 for public contracts for works below the European threshold values ​​according to the 'apply or explain' principle. This only applies to contracting authorities within the meaning of the Public Procurement Act and not to other contractors. Contracting authorities are free to use the ARW 2016 for contracts for supply and service contracts. Contracting authorities are also free to use the ARW 2016 for contracts above the European threshold values. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.2, 2.3 and 2.7)

Threshold - by PP type

What are the minimum application thresholds for the procurement type? (Entity: PUBLIC SECTOR) EUR 139000. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.2, 2.3 and 2.7)
What are the minimum application thresholds for the procurement type? (Entity: UTILITIES) EUR 428000. This is the minimum for supply and services contracts for the special sectors (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Article 3.8)
What are the minimum application thresholds for the procurement type? (Entity: DEFENCE) EUR 139000. Where public supply contracts are awarded by contracting authorities operating in the field of defence, the threshold of EUR 139,000 shall apply only to contracts concerning products covered by Annex III of the Directive 2014/24/EU and the threshold of EUR 214,000 shall apply to contracts concerning products not covered by Annex III. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Article 2.2 (2) Defense and Security Procurement Act of 28 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Article 2.3 (1))

Threshold - by product type

What are the minimum application thresholds for the procurement type? (Product type GOODS) EUR 139000. EUR 139,000 for central governments and EUR 214,000 for other contracting authorities (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.2, 2.3 and 2.7)
What are the minimum application thresholds for the procurement type? (Product type WORKS) EUR 5350000. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.1 and 2.7)
What are the minimum application thresholds for the procurement type? (Product type SERVICES) EUR 139000. EUR 139,000 for central governments and EUR 214,000 for other contracting authorities (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.2, 2.3 and 2.7)

Information availability

Publishing and record keeping

Is there a requirement that tender documents must published in full? Yes. The contracting authority must guarantee free, direct and full online access to the procurement documents by electronic means from the date of publication of the notice. If, by way of derogation from the general rule, the contracting authority does not offer free, direct and full access to certain procurement documents electronically, they shall make the procurement documents available in any way free of charge. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Article 2.66)
Are any of these documents published online at a central place? Yes. https://www.tenderned.nl/cms/english (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Article 2.62)
Is it mandatory to keep all of these records? -Public notices of bidding opportunities, -Bidding documents and addenda, -Bid opening records, -Bid evaluation reports, -Formal appeals by bidders and outcomes, -Final signed contract documents and addenda and amendments, -Claims and dispute resolutions, -Final payments, -Disbursement data (as required by the country’s financial management system) Yes. In general procurement, the contracting authority documents the course of a procurement procedure, so that the contracting authority can motivate the decisions taken at all stages of that procedure. The information shall be kept for at least 3 years after the date of award of the public contract. Furthermore, the contracting authority keeps copies of the contracts concluded for at least the term of the public contract with a value of at least: a) EUR 10,000,000 for public works contracts; b) EUR 1,000,000 for public contracts for supplies or services. In the utilities sector, a special sector company keeps appropriate information about each special sector order and each dynamic purchasing system, so that the company can later justify decisions made regarding: a) the recognition and selection of the economic operators and the award of the contract; b) the application of the negotiated procedure without notice; c) not applying the provisions for special sector contracts on the basis of the exceptions included in the Procurement Act 2012; d) the use of non-electronic means of communication in electronic tenders. A special sector company documents the progress of a procurement procedure by retaining sufficient documents to support decisions at every stage of a procurement procedure. The documentation includes in any case documents relating to communication with entrepreneurs, the preparation of tender documents, any dialogue or negotiation and selection and award of a special sector contract, and it shall be kept for at least 3 years after the date of award of the special sector contract. Moreover, at least for the duration of the special sector contract, the special sector company will keep copies of the agreements entered into with a value of at least: a) EUR 10,000,000 for special sector works contracts; b) EUR 1,000,000 for special sector contracts for supplies or services. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.138a, 2a.28 (6), 2.56, 3.77 and 3.79)
Are contracts awarded within a framework agreement published (ie mini contracts)? No. The obligation to publish an award notice is not extended to contracts awarded within a framework agreement (mini contracts). (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.134, 2.135 and 2a.52)

Sub-contracting

Is it mandatory to publish information on subcontractors (ie names) in some cases? No. The contracting authority is allowed to ask in the tender documents that tenderers say in their tender which part of the task they are planning to give to subcontractors and which subcontractors they are planning to hire. If the contract in question is a public works contract or a contract for a service that needs to be executed under the direct supervision of the contracting authority, the contracting authority may ask for more detailled information on the subcontractors, including the name, contact details, and legal representatives of the subcontractors involved in the execution of the works or the provision of the services. However, there is no express mention in the Law that this information shall be made public. For contracts above EU thresholds, some contract award notices may contain such information, but it is not mandatory. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.79 and 2.132 (1) (h) )
If yes, what is the threshold for publication (i.e. the % of total contract value subcontracted)? For example, if the threshold is 75%, and you have subcontracted out only 40% of your contract, no disclosure is required. Consultant will insert 75% in the short answer column. General. ( )

Evaluation

Preferential treatment

Is there a ban on mentioning specific companies or brands in tender specification/call for tender? Yes. In the technical specifications, a contracting authority does not refer to a specific make, a specific origin or a specific working method that characterizes the products or services of a specific entrepreneur, a brand, a patent or a type, a specific origin or a specific production, thereby favoring or excluding certain companies or products, unless justified by the subject-matter of the public contract. A contracting authority may include the notification or reference in the technical specification if: a) sufficiently accurate and comprehensible description of the subject matter of the public contract is not possible, and b) this notification or reference is accompanied by the words "or equivalent". (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Article 2.76 (3) (4) Defense and Security Procurement Act of 28 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Article 2.59 (5) (6))
Is there a preferential treatment for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs)? No. Article 1.5 (1) (a) obliges contracting authorities to take SMEs into account when deciding whether it is necessary to merge public contracts, but there is no real preferential treatment for SMEs participating in tendering procedures. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Article 1.5 (1) (a))
Is there a preferential treatment for local/national companies? (companies from other EU MS are considered foreign companies) No. A contracting authority or a special sector company treats entrepreneurs equally and non-discriminatory. The contracting authority or special sector company acts transparently. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 1.8 and 1.12 Defense and Security Procurement Act of 28 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Article 1.4)
Is there a specific set of rules for green/sustainable procurement? Yes. The contracting authority has the possibility to take the effects that the tenderers will have on the environment into account for the award of the contract and is also allowed to ask for it in their technical specifications and to connect special environmental conditions to the execution of the contract. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.76 (1) (b), 2.80, 2.93 (1) (h), 2.97, 2.115 (2) (e) and 2.115a Defense and Security Procurement Act of 28 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.59 (1) (b) (3), 2.70 (2), 2.71 (1), 2.83 (1) (g), 2.88 and 2.106 (1) (e))

Bid evaluation

Are there restrictions on allowable grounds for tenderer exclusion? Yes. Main grounds for tenderer exclusion include, inter alia: a) final criminal convictions for bribery, fraud, money laudering, terrorist offences, child labour and human trafficking; b) bankruptcy; c) final conviction for breaking the code of conduct of their profession; d) having made a grave mistake in the execution of their work or deficits in past performance; e) unpaid taxes or social security contributions; f) falsehoods or deficits in answering the contracting authority's request to provide information; g) taking part in agreements with other tenderers that disrupt the competition; and h) an unresolvable conflict of interests. Importantly, the contracting authority may decide not to apply Article 2.86 or Article 2.87, which respectively prescribe mandatory and discretionary grounds for tenderer exclusion, if: 1. for imperative reasons of public interest; 2. if, in the opinion of the contracting authority, exclusion is disproportionate in view of the time that has elapsed since the conviction and in view of the subject-matter of the contract. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.86, 2.87 and 2.88 Defense and Security Procurement Act of 28 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.76, 2.77 and 2.78 )
Are some bids automatically excluded? e.g., lowest/highest price; unusually low price, etc. Yes. If a tender is submitted for a public contract which appears abnormally low in relation to the works, supplies or services to be performed, the contracting authority shall request an explanation of the proposed price or costs of the relevant tender. A contracting authority can only reject a tender if the low level of the proposed prices or costs is not sufficiently substantiated by the evidence provided, taking into account the elements referred to in Article 2.116 (2) of the Procurement Act. A contracting authority shall also reject a tender if it has determined that the tender is abnormally low because it does not comply with environmental, social and labor law obligations under European Union law, national law or collective agreements, or under the provisions of international environmental, social and labor law listed in Annex X of Directive 2014/24/EU. In the utilities sector, a special sector company may reject any tender submitted for the award of a supply contract if the proportion of goods originating in third countries whose origin is determined in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 October 2013 establishing the Union Customs Code, represents more than 50% of the total value of the goods to which this registration relates. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.116 and 3.76 (2) Defense and Security Procurement Act of 28 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Article 2.107)
Is scoring criteria published? Yes. The contracting authority which determines the most economically advantageous tender on the basis of the best price-quality ratio, shall announce in the public contract notice which further criteria it sets for the application of this criterion. The contracting authority shall specify in the tender documents the relative weight of each of the further criteria it has chosen for determining the most economically advantageous tender on the basis of the best value for money. This weight can be expressed by means of a margin with an appropriate difference between minimum and maximum. If weighting is not possible for objective reasons, the contracting authority shall indicate the further criteria in descending order of importance in the tender documents. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Article 2.115 Defense and Security Procurement Act of 28 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Article 2.106 (3) (4))
Are decisions always made by a committee? No.
Are there regulations on evaluation committee composition to prevent conflict of interest? Yes. In the event that a tenderer or someone linked to one of the tenderers has been involved in the preparation of the tender in any way, the contracting authority has to take measures to prevent conflict of interests. These measures include sending the information regarding the tender that the tenderer in question has acquired during the preparation to all competing tenderers and furthermore to set a new deadline for the final tenders. In the event that such measures would not be effective enough, the contracting authority can exclude the tenderer in question. However, before being able to exclude him, the contracting authority needs to give the tenderer the opportunity to prove that he would not disrupt the competition by partaking in the procedure. Conflicts of interest is in any case understood to mean the situation in which staff members of the contracting authority, the special sector company or the public or private law body acting on behalf of the contracting authority or the special sector company offering an additional purchasing activity on the market, who are involved in the conduct of the procurement procedure or can influence the outcome of this procedure, directly or indirectly, have financial, economic or other personal interests which could be considered to affect their impartiality or independence in this procedure. If the contracting authority has established that the candidate or tenderer has conflicting interests that could adversely affect the performance of the contract, the contracting authority may assume that the candidate or tenderer does not have the required professional competence. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 1.10b, 2.51, 2.87 (1) (e), 2.92a (3) and 2.132 (1) (m))
Is some part of evaluation committee mandatorily independent of contracting authority? No. There are no rules regarding committees
Are scoring results publicly available? No. The contracting authority is only obliged to send an award notice to every tenderer who participated in the procedure. The contracting authority only has to share with them why the winning tenderer was chosen and why the others were not, which usually includes their individual scoring. In some cases, the contracting authority is also obliged to send this information to other concerned parties. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Article 2.130)
Does the law specify under which conditions the tender can be cancelled? No. The law does not specify the conditions under which a tender can be cancelled. However, the law does oblige the contracting authority to publish their reasons for cancelling the tendering procedure online (buyer profile). Dutch case law provides that the contracting authority has the possibility to cancel the procedure at any given time. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.132 (1) (n) and 2.61 (3) Defense and Security Procurement Act of 28 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Article 2.45 (2))

Open competition

CFT publication

Does the law specify the location for publicizing open calls for tenders? Yes. It specifies that all tender calls need to be published on the electronic procurement system (https://www.tenderned.nl/cms/english), including public contracts with a value above EU thresholds, which shall also be published by the Official Journal of the European Union/TED (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 1.18, 2.62, 2a.33 (3) and 4.13)
Does the law specify the location for publicizing restricted calls for tenders? Yes. It specifies that all tender calls need to be published on the electronic procurement system (https://www.tenderned.nl/cms/english), including public contracts with a value above EU thresholds, which shall also be published by the Official Journal of the European Union/TED (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 1.18, 2.62, 2a.33 (3) and 4.13)
Does the law specify the location for publicizing negotiated calls for tenders? Yes. It specifies that all tender calls need to be published on the electronic procurement system (https://www.tenderned.nl/cms/english), including public contracts with a value above EU thresholds, which shall also be published by the Official Journal of the European Union/TED (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 1.18, 2.62, 2a.33 (3) and 4.13)

Minimum # of bidders

What is the minimum number of bidders for restricted procedures? General. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.99 (3), 3.65 and 3.69 (2) (b))
What is the minimum number of bidders for negotiated procedures? General. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.99 (3), 3.65 and 3.69 (2) (b) Defense and Security Procurement Act of 28 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Article 2.91 (2))
What is the minimum number of bidders for competitive dialogue procedures? General. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.99 (3), 3.65 and 3.69 (2) (b) Defense and Security Procurement Act of 28 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Article 2.91 (2))

Bidding period length

What are the minimum number of days for open procedures? General. In principle, the minimum number of days to hand in a tender in an open procedure is 45. This period may be shortened by 5 days in the event that all tenders are handed in electronically. In the event that the contracting authority has posted an advance notice, this period may be shortened to 29 days, but in no case to less than 22 days. In an urgent situation, the contracting authority may shorten this period to a total of 15 days. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.71 (1) (5) and 2.74 (a))
What are the minimum number of days for restricted procedures? General. In principle, the minimum number of days for the contracting authority to send out invitations after the call for tenders in a restricted procedure is 30 days. The minimum period for tenderers to send in their tenders afterwards is 40 days. The latter period can also be shortened to 29 days in the event that the contracting authority had posted an advance notice. In urgent situations, the contracting authority can shorten the period for submitting requests to participate to 15 days and the period for submission of tenders to 10 days. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.71 (4) (5) and 2.74 (b) © Defense and Security Procurement Act of 28 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Article 2.54 (2))
What are the minimum number of days  for competitive negotiated procedures? General. In principle, the minimum number of days for the contracting authority to send out invitations after the call for tenders in a restricted procedure is 30 days. The minimum period for tenderers to send in their tenders afterwards is 40 days. The latter period can also be shortened to 29 days in the event that the contracting authority had posted an advance notice. In urgent situations, the contracting authority can shorten the period for submitting requests to participate to 15 days and the period for submission of tenders to 10 days. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.71 (4) (5) and 2.74 (b) (c))

Institutional arrangements

Institutions and regulations

Does the law specify the main EXCEPTIONS preventing the application of the public procurement law for tenders/organisations? Yes. The list of exceptions is comprehensive both in general procurement and utilities procurement. Some of the main exceptions relate to contracts concerning: a) defense and national security; b) telecommunication networks; c) matters regulated by other international organisations; d) service contracts concerning exclusive rights; e) the acquisition of land or buildings; f) public broadcasting; g) arbitration; h) financial instruments; i) labour; j) legal services; k) political services; l) in some cases research and development; m) quasi, reverse and vertical in-house contracts; n) public public cooperation contracts. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.23, 2.24, 2.24a, 2.24b, 2.24c, 2a.13 - 2a.21, 2a.24 and 3.21 - 3.30a Defense and Security Procurement Act of 28 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.16 and 2.17)
Does the law specify the main types of institutions that must apply the public procurement law? Yes. The public procurement law must be applied by contracting authorities. The law defines contracting authorities as the state, the provinces, the municipalities, the water boards or a public-law institution or a partnership of these authorities or public-law institutions. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Article 1.1 Defense and Security Procurement Act of 28 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Article 1.1)
Does the law specify the main procedure types or procurement methods permitted? Yes. Open procedure (except in the defence and security sector), restricted procedure, competitive dialogue, negotiated procedure with notice, negotiated procedure without notice and innovation partnership. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 1.1, 2.25, 2.26, 2.27, 2.28, 2.30, 2.31a, 2.32 and 3.33 - 3.36 Defense and Security Procurement Act of 28 January 2013, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.18, 2.21 and 2.23 )
Is there a procurement arbitration court dedicated to public procurement cases? No. There is no court specifically dedicated to public procurement cases. Lawsuits concerning public procurement are handled by the Dutch civil courts, more specifically usually by the judge for interim proceedings.
Is there a procurement regulatory body dedicated to public procurement? No. There is a regulatory body, the ACM (Authority for Consumer and Market), but it is not a specific authority dedicated to public procurement. It is mainly dedicated to watch over competition and consumer protection in the Netherlands. The ACM has the authority to fine a contracting authority that has signed a contract during the standstill period. It may however only do so after there have been proceedings before the civil court and the civil judge decided against dissolving the contract. In addition, the Procurement Law laid the foundation for the creation of a committee whose purpose is to provide independent advice on complaints relating to tendering procedures. The Committee of Procurement Experts was created by a Decree (Decision of the Minister of Economic Affairs of 4 March 2013, no. WJZ/3008668) and its task is to: a. mediate between parties in response to complaints; and b. give non-binding advice in response to complaints. It is, thus, not a classic regulatory body. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 4.21 - 4.23 and 4.27 Decree establishing the Committee of Tendering Experts)
Does the law specify procurement advisors' profession (i.e. degree to be obtained, official list of members of the professional association) and its role in the tendering process (e.g. right to draft tender documentations, conduct market research identifying bidders)? No.
Is disclosure of final, beneficial owners required for placing a bid? No.

Complaints

Is there a fee for arbitration procedure? No. No mention in the Law
Is there a ban on contract signature until arbitration court decision (first instance court)? No. A contracting authority must observe a suspensive period of at least 20 calender days before concluding the contract envisaged in the award decision. This suspensive period commences on the day after the date on which the notification of the award decision is sent to the tenderers and candidates concerned. If, during the suspensive period, an immediate provision is requested with regard to the relevant award decision, the contracting authority shall not conclude the agreement intended with that decision until after the court or arbitral tribunal has made a decision on the request for interim measures and the standstill period has expired. However, aside from the 20 calender days, the suspension of contract signature is not automatic, as it depends on an application for interim measures. (Procurement Act 2012, as amended in 2018, Articles 2.127 and 2.131)
What is the maximum number of days until arbitration court decision from filing a complaint in the case of awarded contracts? N/S. There is no maximum number of days for cases concerning public procurement law in Dutch law. Most of these cases are handled by the interim judge of the civil court and a decision is usually reached within 6 to 8 weeks.
Is there a requirement to publicly release arbitration court decisions ? Yes. While there is no formal requirement on the Procurement Act 2012, Article 121 of the Dutch Constitution provides that, except in cases laid down by Act of Parliament, trials shall be held in public and judgments shall specify the grounds on which they are based and shall be pronounced in public. The court that handles cases concerning public procurement is the civil court. Court decisions from the civil court are all public. They are accessible via internet on rechtspraak.nl.

Legislation

Decree Establishing the Commission of Procurement Experts (Dutch)pdf
Defense and Security Procurement Act of 28 January 2013 (Dutch)pdf
Law of 1 November 2012, containing new rules regarding tenders (Procurement Act 2012) (Dutch)pdf
Proportionality Guide (Dutch)pdf
Works Procurement Regulations 2016 (Dutch)pdf

*Last update: 2017