Skip to main content

Dutch Digitalisation Minister announces creation of an OSPO

Dutch Digitalisation Minister announces OSPO creation

Published on: 13/02/2023 Last update: 16/02/2023 News

On 3 February, the Dutch Minister for Digitalisation Alexandra van Huffelen announced the creation of an Open Source Programme Office (OSPO) to support the goal of a strong value-based and transparent digital government. This OSPO would be at first part of the department of interior to support this effort. 

The Minister’s announcement was made during a speech at the EU Open Source Policy Summit 2023. She began with a reminder to the audience that digitalisation should be based on strong democratic values including safety, privacy, transparency, and self-determination. 

The Minister also explained how the Netherlands’ national agenda to strengthen trust from citizens towards their government should be achieved through transparency and openness. This allows citizens to check on their government and foster reuse as well and can be achieved through Open Policies, Open Data and Open Source. This is very much in line with the Dutch Freedom of Information Act, which has led the government to publicly share governmental source code with citizens

In her speech, Minister van Huffelen also described the task of the upcoming OSPO. By considering open source not only from a technical point of view but also from a cultural and organisational one, the Dutch OSPO expects to be in a good position to “boost open source working”. It will draw up internal frameworks and work on removing any obstacle that the implementation of open source in public services can face. The hope is that the OSPO will also be able to change the culture of closedness that currently exists in public administrations, despite civil servants’ best efforts. 

When discussing inspiration, the Minister mentioned the various EU national OSPOs that already exist, as well as the European Commission OSPO.

This declaration echoes that of the Czech Minister for Digitalisation Ivan Bartoš who earlier that day also talked extensively about the establishment of the Czech national OSPO. While work on the structuration of Open Source governance among Member States seems to be gathering momentum, Minister van Hueffelen also expressed her will to work closely on the European stage. She foresees collaboration with the European OSPO network or through jointly developed cross-border digital services. She concluded her speech with the wish for an “Open Source Europe”.