ABOUT
Region: Western Europe
Population: 17,018,408
Area: 41,540
GDP per capita, PPP: 50,539
(current international $)
Major Languages: Dutch (official)

Library Location Resources

No information available
LIBRARIES IN

Despite the country’s small size, the Netherlands has a number of organisations, not-for-profit-foundations, and for-profit enterprises involved in maintaining library infrastructure and keeping services up-to-date.

The KB, National Library of the Netherlands, offers a platform for people and information to come together. Their most important task for the coming years, is a national digital library which is being developed collaboratively by the National Library and its network partners.

Dutch public libraries offer access to information, knowledge, language, and culture to everyone in inviting physical and virtual meeting spaces. There are also a variety of special, government, medical, industrial and corporate libraries to support a range of sectors.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is responsible for the development of policy and legislation concerning libraries. Grants are the largest source of income for libraries with the majority of funding from municipalities. In principle, the state does not finance public libraries, and therefore makes little contribution to libraries' income, except for incidental and partnership projects.

With the Library at School (de Bibliotheek op school) programme, libraries and municipalities join forces to draw  attention to reading for pleasure and increased media literacy both at school and at home. This collaboration encourages children and young people to read more, and to use the internet, social media and games in wise and informed ways. School libraries are available in primary education, and also in secondary education. In primary education, the library’s emphasis is on promoting reading. In secondary education, research becomes an important focus, with an emphasis on learning path support for projects and theses.

Netherland’s academic libraries see knowledge and information skills of lecturers, researchers and students as critically important in maintaining the quality of Universities and a knowledgeable Dutch society. The libraries’ expertise and traditional services are becoming increasingly relevant through the development of open and online education - for example, advice on copyrights and licenses, the access and storage of content and the promotion of information skills.

Higher education institutions receive a fixed amount from the government with an additional variable amount, based on the following:

  • The number of enrolments in recognized bachelor's and master's programs within the nominal study duration.
  • The number of completed bachelors and masters for which a diploma has been awarded. 

Strategic development of libraries in higher education , through the partnership network Samenwerkingsverband Hogeschoolbibliotheken, is focused on the following goals: Intensifying the collaborations between libraries; the library as a learning and working environment; the role of the library in education support; and sustainable access to information.



SDG STORIES: Stories Available
PERFORMANCE METRICS

SELECT METRIC VIEW

Totals Per 1M People*

Number of Libraries

Total Libraries with Internet Access

Total Staff

Volunteers

Registered Users

Total Visits

Total Physical Loans

Total Electronic Loans
CONTEXTUAL INDICATORS
Population and Geography
43 505.5
Median Age Population Density
people per sq km
Information and Infrastructure
90.4% 3.9%
Internet UsersInternet Gender Gap
Poverty and Employment
0% 6%
Poverty Rate
2011 PPP
Unemployment
% of labor force
Education and Literacy
No Data Available 5.5%
Adult Literacy Rate
% of people age 15+
Education Spending
% of GDP
Innovation and Skills
63.4% 2%
ICT Skills:
Transfering Files
Research Spending
% of GDP
Organisations
National Library Associations
National Library
Policy Making Institutions
Library Support Organisations
Policy & Legislation
National Policy for Libraries
Library Law
Legal Deposit Law
Copyright Law
Library Exceptions & Limitations
Education & Events
Professional Qualification Requirements
Education
Professional Publications
Professional Events
PERFORMANCE METRICS
Learn more about the performance metrics
SELECT METRIC VIEW
Totals Per 1 M People
LEGEND
N/A' Not Applicable '-' No Data '0' Zero
Total National Academic Public Community School Other

Total Libraries

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Libraries with Internet Access

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Full-Time Staff

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Volunteers

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Registered User

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Physical Visits

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Physical Loans

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Electronic Loans

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CONTEXTUAL INDICATORS
Learn more about the contextual indicators
LEGEND
N/A' Not Applicable '-' No Data '0' Zero
Population Netherlands Region World
Population Density
people per sq km
505.5
2016
33.2
2016
57.4
2016
Urban Population (World Bank) 91%
2016
71.1%
2016
54.3%
2016
Median Age (CIA) 43
2017
-
30
2017
Age Dependency Ratio, Youth (World Bank)
% of working age people
25.3%
2017
27.1%
2017
39.7%
2017
Age Dependency Ratio, Elderly (ITU World Telecoms Database)
% of working age people
29%
2017
24.5%
2017
13.3%
2017
Information Infrastructure Netherlands Region World
Internet Users (ITU World Telecoms Database)
% of population
90.4%
2016
-
-
Broadband Cost (ITU World Telecoms Database)
in USD
$38.7
2016
$14.6
2016
$20.1
2016
Phone Subscription Cost (ITU World Telecoms Database)
in USD
$27.9
2016
$9.5
2016
$9.5
2016
Internet Gender Gap (ITU World Telecoms Database)
% of Men Internet Users - % of Women Internet Users
3.9%
2016
-
11.6%
2017
Access to Electricity (World Bank)
100%
2016
100%
2016
87.4%
2016
Economy, Poverty, and Employment Netherlands Region World
GDP per Capita (World Bank)
current international $
50,539
2016
31,362
2016
16,215
2016
Poverty Rate (World Bank)
at $1.90 a Day, 2011 PPP
0%
2015
1.6%
2013
10.9%
2013
Inequality Index (World Bank)
0 is perfect equality, 100 is the complete inequality
29
2015
-
-
Unemployment (World Bank)
% of labor force
6%
2016
8.2%
2016
5.9%
2014
Inactive Youth (World Bank)
% of youth
4.6%
2016
13.8%
2016
-
Education and Literacy Netherlands Region World
Students per Teacher (World Bank)
Ratio
12
2016
15
2016
24
2016
Adult Literacy Rate (World Bank)
% of people age 15+
-
99.1%
2016
86.2%
2016
Education Spending (World Bank)
% of GDP
5.5%
2014
5.1%
2014
4.9%
2014
Innovation and Skills Netherlands Region World
Research Spending (World Bank)
% of GDP
2%
2015
1.9%
2015
2.2%
2015
ICT Skills: Programming (International Telecommunication Union)
% of Population
7.1%
2015
-
-
ICT Skills: Creating Presentations (International Telecommunication Union)
% of Population
42.6%
2015
-
-
ICT Skills: Finding, Downloading, Installing Software (International Telecommunication Union)
% of Population
67.5%
2015
-
-
ICT Skills: Transferring Files (International Telecommunication Union)
% of Population
63.4%
2015
-
-
ICT Skills: Sending Emails
% of Population
-
-
-
ICT Skills: Using Copy/Paste
% of Population
-
-
-
ICT Skills: Connect/Install Devices
% of Population
-
-
-
ICT Skills: Using Math in Spreadsheets
% of Population
-
-
-
Organisations

National Library Associations

The Netherlands Public Library Association / Vereniging Openbare Bibliotheken, VOB

VOB consists of more than 160 members, a board, and a bureau. Together they work on the common interests of public libraries, the provincial support organizations (POIs) and the national organizations. The VOB unites the public libraries industry.  The VOB is a branch association that acts responsibly, flexibly and demand driven as a stakeholder, contracting party, service provider, meeting place and employers’ organisation. Strengthening the social role of members is central so that everyone in society has access to good information and opportunities to develop themselves, at every level.

FOBID Netherlands Library Forum

FOBID was founded in 1974 to improve the co-operation between different types of libraries and institutions for information and documentation services. It is the branch organization for the Dutch library sector. It serves as a platform that represents the interests of the sector and acts as a point of contact for affiliated organizations in the Netherlands and sister organizations abroad.
Its aim is to defend the interests of these institutions and their professionals, and to enhance professional development. The main activities focus on advocacy of the library field's legal interests, on international networking and co-operation of professionals in the field of bibliographic matters and education.

The Royal Dutch Association of Information Professionals / Koninklijke Nederlandse Vereniging van Informatieprofessionals, KNVI

The KNVI is a Dutch professional association for professionals in information provision and management. KNVI is the platform for Professionals in Information Management, Information Technology and Information Services, where every professional in these disciplines feels at home. Information plays a leading role in the development of people and society. KNVI therefore sees it as their task to promote the development of information professionals, by working together, facilitating, meeting, focusing, and leading the way. In doing so, KNVI considers their core values of independence, integrity, and professionalism.

National Library

National Library of the Netherlands, KB / Koninklijke Bibliotheek, KB

For centuries, the KB, National Library of the Netherlands has been a source of inspiration and innovation. Since its foundation in 1798, the KB has developed into a broad-based, versatile organisation, which guarantees the visibility, usability and sustainability of the national library collection for all Dutch people, for any purpose, both now and in the future. The KB is responsible for the written word, particularly Dutch publications, and for ensuring that everyone is able to read, learn and conduct research. This is the way of contributing towards making the Netherlands smarter, more competent and more creative.

Policy Making Institutions

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science / Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschappen (OCW)

The Ministry has the following objectives:

  • To ensure that everyone gets a good education
  • To ensure that everyone is prepared for personal independance and responsibility
  • To ensure that everyone has the opportunity to experience and enjoy culture  
  • To ensure that teachers, artists, and scientists are able to carry out their work

Library Support Organisations

The Dutch consortium of university libraries and the National Library of The Netherlands / Samenwerkingsverband van Nederlandse universiteitsbibliotheken en de Koninklijke Bibliotheek, UKB

The partnership of university libraries and the National Library supports and accelerates scientific progress by distributing, concentrating, and connecting mutual expertise in national and international networks. It consists of thirteen university libraries and the National Library. The main collaboration takes place in the field of developing a shared vision of the library as a learning and working environment; the development of expertise in the field of educational support; securing sustainable access to information; facilitating open science; and where possible systems and infrastructure are shared.

WSWB Libraries

The WSWB Libraries (Werkgroep speciale wetenschappelijke bibliotheken / Special scientific libraries working group) represents the interests of special scientific libraries. The foundation supports the 31 participating libraries in the management of their collections, which are of (great) importance for the promotion of both the sciences and the arts and culture in the Netherlands. The foundation does this by, among other things, concluding (license) contracts, granting access to the collections of the libraries participating in the WSWB to third parties, by making the (often unique) collections of the WSWB libraries visible within (international) networks and through the exchange of knowledge in areas specific to the specialized scientific libraries.

Policy & Legislation

National Policy for Libraries

There are no national policy documents for libraries in Netherlands.

Library Law

Public Library Facilities Act / Wet stelsel openbare bibliotheekvoorzieningen (Wsob)

In 2015, a new law for the public library sector (Wsob) came into force. This law describes a.o. the core functions of libraries and the roles of parties involved. It also states that the highly decentralized library sector constitutes a network for which the national government, provincial governments and municipalities are jointly responsible. Municipalities and Provinces (represented by, respectively, VNG (Vereniging Nederlandse Gemeente) and IPO (Interprovinciaal Overleg) are responsible for the physical domain. The national government (Ministry for Education, Culture and Science - OCW) is responsible for the digital domain as well as the effectiveness and coherence of the library system as a whole. The execution of the OCW tasks is carried out by the National Library (KB).

According to the new law public libraries should give the general public access to information and culture, guided by principles such as independence, credibility, accessibility, pluralism and authenticity. Their concrete tasks are making available knowledge and information, facilitating learning, promoting reading and a taste of literature, promoting arts and culture, and organising social encounters and debate.

The new law also defines the scope of the digital library and arranges its funding.

Legal Deposit Law

The Netherlands uses voluntary legal deposit, managed by the Royal Library, and based on an agreement with the Dutch Publishers Association.
Works included are books, newspapers, journals, magazines, educational tools, cartographic material, yearbooks, reports and brochures, in both physical and electronic form. Works covered are those produced in the Netherlands, regardless of language.
While digital deposit is favoured, it is also possible to deposit works in physical form. Access is only possible inside the Royal Library, unless the rightholder has allowed for access outside.

Copyright Law & Library Exceptions and Limitations

The Dutch Copyright Act / Auteurswet
Exceptions and limitations for libraries

Libraries, alongside educational establishments and museums open to the public, as well as cinematographic or audio-visual heritage archives and establishments which do not operate for a commercial purpose benefit from copyright exceptions for preservation and restoration. This provision is technology-neutral, allowing libraries to digitize its work if necessary, for preservation, and includes permission for copying to avoid format obsolescence. A library may also make works belonging to its own collection available digitally on site to the public, ie only within the walls of its building.

There are exceptions for copying for private study and for education, although with the possibility for remuneration. The Netherlands has also implemented the Marrakesh Treaty, although again with the possibility of remuneration.

Libraries can draw on an orphan works provision to copy and make available works in their collections where rightholders have not been identified and found after a careful examination (there is a long list of conditions), and if uses are then only for public interest goals. When making orphan works available, libraries and others may only generate income that serves to cover the costs of digitization and availability.
While the European Union Copyright Directive has yet to be implemented, there are already provisions allowing for the copying of works which are out-of-commerce, against remuneration.

The Netherlands does have a Public Lending Right scheme, although this does not apply to educational or research libraries, or to primarily publicly subsidised ones such as in parts of the Dutch Antilles. The Public Lending Rights Office (Stichting Leenrecht) collects payments from libraries, toy libraries, CD lenders and art leasing galleries and distributes these payments to organizations representing copyright owners. 

Elsewhere, there are exceptions for quotation, parody and satire, incidental uses, and transitory copying (i.e. to allow for caching).

Education & Events

Professional Qualification Requirements

There are no professional qualification requirements for librarians in Netherlands.

Education

The full-time courses have been discontinued or merged with other courses in ICT, business administration and management into "broad" bachelors and masters. At present, there are only hands-on training and retraining activities available for the entire information field, ranging from a 1-day workshop to a course of several months at all levels. Some courses are also taught in English and Spanish.

Professional Publications

IP magazine for information professionals / IP vakblad voor informatieprofessionals

IP is the independent online platform and printed magazine for information specialist of today and tomorrow. The main audience are professionals working in the information, library, archive and heritage world.

Government documentation / Overheidsdocumentatie

The printed magazine provides insight into all current developments in the field of documentary information provision, information management, management and organization and document management and the digital transition in which this field is located. It focuses on everyone who is concerned with keeping (government) information permanently accessible. It is published eight times a year.

Library magazine: trade magazine for the public library / Bibliotheekblad: vakblad voor de openbare bibliotheek

If you want to stay informed of developments in public library work, subscribe to Bibliotheekblad. This printed professional magazine is full of opinion articles, interviews, reports, news, and background information. The magazine is published nine times a year. Each issue contains a file, which delves deeper into an interesting theme. The magazine focuses primarily on professionals in public libraries. It is also interesting for library boards, governments, the information sector, the cultural sector, and the book sector.

Professional Events

National Library Congress

This annual event is organised by the National Library of the Netherlands, KB. Each year  a theme is chosen around with the knowledge and practices are shared in an effort to further the development of libraries.

Smart Humanity

"Smart Humanity" is a multi-year theme of an annual conference of the Royal Dutch Association of Information Professionals (Koninklijke Nederlandse Vereniging van Informatieprofessionals, KNVI). The KNVI has devoted three years to this theme. After being defined and introduced in January 2018, the concept of Smart Humanity is being further elaborated with various scientists and practitioners. The event is aimed at all information professionals.