The Dutch Digitalisation Strategy 2021

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to work, learn, shop and relax from home and online. The government, too, switched to working fully online within a short space of time: this way many policies could be developed and implemented, despite the coronavirus measures. We made a leap in scale with digitalisation in a wide range of sectors and domains. Fortunately, the Netherlands was well prepared and sections of our economy and society could keep running thanks in part to digital support. At the same time, the rapid scaleup made addressing issues of security, privacy and dependency more urgent.

Due to the coronavirus and because 2021 is an election year, this is a special edition of the Dutch Digitalisation Strategy (DDS). The new government will commit itself to the digital transition with new energy. In addition, the House of Representatives aims to take on an even more active role in this process by setting up a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Digital Affairs.

However, they do not need to start from scratch. The DDS has achieved a great deal in recent years and has introduced a number of initiatives. For this reason, this update on the DDS also reflects on digitalisation in the Netherlands in a broader sense. Chapter 2 outlines the key results and developments that have brought us to where we are today. Chapter 3 provides an overview of the most important results since the last edition of the DDS.

This period during which the current government hands over its tasks to a new government provides us with an excellent opportunity to look back as well as towards the future. Technological, economic and social developments are moving fast and have an impact on the nature, pace and direction of the digital transition. The reverse is also true: the digital transition has an impact on social and economic developments. It is important for government and society to prepare for this impact at an early stage. After all, digitalisation is a long-term development with a major influence on everyone. The government has therefore commissioned a foresight study on the key trends and developments in the run-up to 2030. The aim is to provide insight into how these trends and developments relate to each other, so that future governments, businesses, knowledge institutions and citizens can discuss the key issues: what are we aiming to achieve through the digital transition? What steps do we need to take, now and in the future, to succeed in this together? A summary of the study can be found in Chapter 4. The full study is published as an appendix.

Finally, the usual appendices are also included: the DDS progress report and the financial overview for the digital economy.