Dutch Parliament Opens Treasure Trove of Data

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The Dutch Parliament has released a large volume of data as open data. In 2008 the digitalization of the Dutch parliamentary information system and archive was completed. On that basis documents have already been available on-line for quite some time. Now the underlying data, together with the documents are available as open data for free re-use as well. An API ensures access to the data.

This is a significant step as the political process and the workings of Parliament don't fall under the FOIA, as Parliament is not a public sector body. This means that it is Parliament itself that decides on how it fulfills the need for public access and transparency.

Data has been made available as downloads, but an API is also currently being tested. This API is currently already in closed beta use to handle (also internal) information requests and will be opened to the public gradually. Already people can apply to become part of the closed beta user group, and that group will be allowed to grow over the coming months, before the foreseen full public availability at the end of the year.

The data covers meetings, working visits, votes, documents, revisions, agendas and more. Available documents cover the period 1814-now, more structured data is available for 1995-now.

On 8 September the 'Apps voor democratie' (apps for democracy) event took place in the Dutch Parliament. At the invitation of mrs Verbeet, Speaker of the Dutch Parliament, politicians, parliamentary staff, coders and designers met in the Parliament to discuss the impact of open data, as well as create applications using available data.