How to encounter relevant Dutch public, open or commercial data

by | Dec 27, 2016

How to encounter relevant Dutch public, open or commercial data

In this post I would like to give an overview of what kind of open, public or commercial data are available and possibly relevant for the Dutch market. There are multiple global lists of data sources on for example Data Science Central, Quora, Reddit and Forbes, but most of this information is likely not of use for your business in the Netherlands. Therefore I will highlight several types of data sources that are available to the public and that might actually provide business value within the boundaries of our country. The types of data I will touch upon are local and national open data portals, research institutions, sellers of consumer and company profiles, social media platforms and web intelligence tools.

Dutch open data

As a result of a hackaton in 2012 origined Open Data Nederland, a crowd sourced platform of open data sets hosting over 600 data sets provided by government organizations as municipalities and ministries, but also data sets sourced from commercial parties as and Liander. Currently, the national open data portal of the Dutch government is in my opinion more mature and better updated than Open Data Nederland. The national open data portal hosts almost 10.000 data sets containing data of provinces, ministries, municipalities, CBS and other governmental entities. The two main providers are CBS and Nationaal Georegister/ PDOK.

CBS makes its data available via three different interfaces: static StatLine tables, website open data and raw data that is available for third parties: IV3. Large IV3 data sets can be easily be downloaded with R. Publieke Dienstverlening Op de Kaart, PDOK, offers a wide range of geo-maps of the Nationaal Georegister; agricultural surfaces, waste heat, water passages, public services and historical weather data, but also data from the CBS.

Local open data portal

Next to these national portals, there are several cities that provide their own data portal such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Alkmaar, Enschede and Groningen. The themes of the datasets extend from security, traffic data and demography to economic data. Most of these platforms are build on CKAN, open source data portal software.

Research institutions

Besides open data portals, can the data and publications of Dutch research institutions contain valuable information for your business needs. CPB publishes several projections such those of economic growth, purchasing power, prices, employment and production. Panteia is a research agency that covers economic, social and transport themes. TNO, as its name suggests, focuses on more technical topics such as Industry, Health, Defence & Security and Energy.

Commercial vendors of consumer data

More granular data such as consumer characteristics are also available on the market. Cendris, a PostNL company, claims to posses the largest national consumer database consisting of 7,3 million consumers and offers multiple derivative services such as an address check, data scan, postcode information and relocation notice. EDM, on its turn, advertises to be able to classify almost each household in the Netherlands in terms of demography, wealth, lifestyle preferences and media consumption.
Focum has consumer data of 10,4 million Dutch people of which they have recorded 1,5 million negative payments.

Commercial venders of company data

Not only data of consumers is on the market, but also those of companies. A batch of firms such as Graydon, Dun & Bradstreet, Cendris, Open Companies and CompanyInfo resell data that is mainly sourced from the Dutch chamber of Commerce. is an initiative that enables you to request a subset of this data for free with its API. These companies do not only provide this data for a lower price than the chamber of commerce does, but offer additional solutions such as ‘Look-a-like bedrijvendatabase’ – Graydon -, a risk factor or default score for companies – Dun & Bradstreet.

Social media sites

Social media sites form a great source of information to learn who are following you, but these also enable you to get to know other people or companies. Facebook and Twitter have great APIs that allow you to search for people or companies and extract the information you are interested in. Getting access to LinkedIns or Instagrams API is more difficult, but given the massive use of these platforms by respectively professionals and millennials still worth the pain to be able to navigate fast on.

Web intelligence tools

Web intelligence tools can enlighten your about the popularity of topics and websites. Alexa and Similarweb are two similar services that indicate the rank of websites within a certain category, where the website visitors come from and what websites provide similar services. Google has several tools that provide you with market intelligence, but I want to highlight two of those. First, Google Trends informs you about the popularity of search queries. Second, the Keyword Tool of Google Adwords makes clear what is the expected volume of search queries that belong to a given keyword and indicates what is the necessary bid to rank on the first page for such a keyword. In case you are more app oriented, appannie, can show whether similar apps are in demand or not.

This article is meant to give an overview of data sources that might benefit your business in some way or the other. We have first covered national and local open data sources, subsequently discussed several data sources published by research institutions, followed by data points that can be acquired of resellers of consumer and business characteristics and finally data that is available on the web from social media sites and web intelligence tools. May this be useful in your endeavours!

Do you want to know more about relevant Dutch Public, open or commercial data? Contact Bert!

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