Netherlands has a strong OA awareness and an active promotion of open access through institutional mandates, funder mandates, the establishment of OA repositories and OA publishing agreements. 

The International Open Access week is celebrated yearly since 2009 under the coordination of SURF. 

According to ROAR, there are 42 OA institutional repositories in the Netherlands and DOAJ indexes 70 Dutch journals. 

The Netherlands has an important, globally operating scientific publishing industry: with Elsevier, Kluwer and Brill as important examples. These companies experiment with Open Access publishing in various degrees. 

Enabling Environment:

The Berlin Declaration has been signed by 20 Dutch Institutions, including the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Netherlands Association of Universities (VSNU) and of Universities of Applied Sciences (Vereniging Hogescholen), the Associ and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). 

NWO, the major Dutch research funder, pursues a strong OA policy, inter alia by providing a grants programme for the costs of author fees. OA to data is important for NOW as well. The website provides information and promotes OA. 

Utrecht Publishing and Archiving Services, (Igitur) and Amsterdam University Press are major OA publishers. AUP publishes scientific monographs via OAPEN

Potential Barriers:

  • Insufficient awareness of OA amongst individual researches; 
  • Only a minority of universities have an institutional mandate; 
  • Possible misunderstanding on issues of copyright and intellectual property. 
  • Only four universities have an OA fund.

Major Projects/Initiatives:

Keur der Wetenschap – free access to the scholarly output of the best Dutch scientist as a means to raise awareness. To read more about the project.

Data Seal of Approvalguidelines for good data repositories

Open Access Week in the Netherlands: 

KB international e-depot - digital repository for scientific publications with a specifically long-term perspective: 

Open Access Publishing in European Networks' (OAPEN) - freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

NARCIS - gateway to scholarly information in the Netherlands (universities): 

HBO kennisbank - public access to the results of research done by Dutch Universities of Applied Science. 

National and Institutional Level Policies/Mandates:

The Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences is in favor of Open Access but it lacks a specific Open Access policy in written form. 

In a letter dated 07.04.2011 State Secretary Zijlstra informed Parliament that the government approves of the OA policies of KNAW and NWO and supports these to the best of her abilities, conform the axiom that what is paid with public money should be publicly available. 

The Erasmus University Rotterdam and KNAW have an institutional mandate; Wageningen UR and VU University Amsterdam have thesis mandates. 

Details of Key Organizations:

SURF foundation
Overview: Collaborative organisation to promote effective and innovative use of technology in universities, research institutes and organisations.
Projects: SURFshare: aims to develop an infrastructure that will facilitate access to research information and make it possible for researchers to share scientific and scholarly information using latest ICT technology.

Communication address: SURFfoundation, Hojel City Center, building D (5th floor), Graadt van Roggenweg 340, 3531 AH UTRECHT, Netherlands; e info(at)

Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU)
Overview: Represents and promotes staff and activities in 14 research Universities: Delft University of Technology (TUD); Eindhoven University of Technology (TUe); University of Twente (UT); Wageningen University; Erasmus University Rotterdam; Leiden University; Maastricht University; Radboud University Nijmegen; Tilburg University; University of Amsterdam; University of Groningen; Utrecht University; VU University Amsterdam; Open Universiteit in the Netherlands.

Projects: OA Publishing agreement with Springer to make available articles by Dutch researchers in Springer journals will be made available Open Access, with author's approval.

Communication address: Vereniging van universiteiten, Lange Houtstraat 2, Postbus 13739, 2501 ES Den Haag, Netherlands; e-mail: post(at)

Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
Overview: NWO is the main funder of scientific research at universities and institutes through subsidies and research programmes. Participates in European association of the heads of research funding organisations and research performing organisations (EUROHORCs) and the European Science Foundation (ESF) as well as in their combined Roadmap. NWO has adopted the Gold OA programme for its funded research and where this is not possible, supports the Green OA programme. NWO has further mandated OA publishing through an “Incentive Fund Open Access” that assists organisations in making humanities research available through OA.
Projects:  NWO made 2, 5 million Euros available in 2010 for the support of OA which includes conversion of existing humanities journals to OA format.

Project web links: NWO and Open Access ; Incentive Fund Open Access - Journals in the Humanities

Communication address: P.O Box 93138 - NL2509 AC Den Haag, Netherlands; email: nwo(at)

Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW)
Overview: KNAW coordinates the work of 18 research institutes throughout the country in the humanities, social sciences, the life sciences and science and government policy. It serves as an advisory body to the Ditch government, KNAW does not have an OA mandate.

Projects: KNAW is involved in a number of projects aimed at facilitating access to research output. Two main initiatives are National Academic Research and Collaborations Information System (NARCIS): the national portal for those who are in search of information about researchers and their work and Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) to provide access to datasets by developing data infrastructures in organisations.

Communication address: P.O. Box 19121, NL-1000 GC Amsterdam, Netherlands; e-mail: knaw(at)

National Library of the Netherlands (KB)
Overview: KB is the national library of the Netherlands aiming to provide permanent access to everything published in and about the Netherlands.

Projects: There are a number of thematic project collections but no specific OA projects.

Communication address: Koninklijke Bibliotheek, P.O. Box 90407, 2509 LK Den Haag, Netherlands

Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) 

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) secretariat based in the Netherlands

Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) secretariat based in the Netherlands

Thematic Open Access projects/Initiatives

The National Library (KB) has a number of ongoing thematic projects in diverse areas. These include: Databank of Digital Daily newspapers covering key national, regional and colonial newspapers from (17th onwards; Dutch parliamentary papers; Early European Books; The Memory of the Netherlands: a digital collection of Dutch illustrations, photographs, texts, film and audio recordings.

Past and Future OA Related Activities:

Open Access Week activities take place annually at HE institutions in Netherlands. Support for the promotion of open access is provided by SURF, the collaborative organisation for research universities, research institutes and universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands. All information on open access in the Netherlands can be found at:

Past events have included:

  • In 2009 “Open Access Doctors on Call” at Leiden University where library staff were available to help researchers upload publications to the university’s repository. As a result, more than 300 new scientific and scholarly publications were uploaded’.
  • Open Access T-shirts were also distributed at Eindhoven University of Technology and Tilberg University.  
  • In 2010, activities included OA slogans printed on plastic cups in all the coffee dispensers at Eindhoven University of Technology and a symposium on “How to write a world-class paper” at Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR).

In 2011 24-28 October Open & Research seminar will focus on Open Access and research to be followed by a second week (31 October to 4 November), it will be focussing on education and Open Educational Resources.

In the first week, institutions will organise local activities on the theme of “open” and research. After these events, the Weblectures, webinars, reports, photos, presentations etc. of the activities will be uploaded to the website.

List of Publications

2009: report ‘Costs and Benefits of Research Communication: The Dutch Situation’.

Harnad, S (2010) On not putting the Gold OA-Payment Cart Before The Green OA-Provision Horse.

Houghton, J (2009) Open Access – What are the economic benefits?

UKB Survey of OA policy of Dutch Universities (in Dutch)

Van der Graaf & Waaijers Over kwaliteit van onderzoeksdata (in Dutch, with English summary):

Waaijers, L. The DARE Chronicle: Open Access to Research Results and Teaching Material in the Netherlands Ariadne Issue 53.


(Modified on December 2013)

Back to top