Statistics Netherlands, also known as the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (Centraal Bureau van Statistiek) or CBS, is an autonomous agency with the mandate to collect and process data, which it publishes in statistical reports.
About Statistics Netherlands
Since Statistics Netherlands was founded in 1899, its main purpose has been to produce national statistics of practical relevance for policy-makers and scientific researchers. It now also supplies statistical information to the European Union.
The CBS receives its own budget and manages its own work programme. Though both its budget and legislative framework are ultimately the responsibility of the Minister of Economic Affairs, its relationship to the Ministry was made non-hierarchical in 2004 as a means of protecting its autonomy.
The operations of Statistics Netherlands are overseen by an independent body, the Central Commission for Statistics, which monitors the quality, relevance and impartiality of studies and projects.
CBS research areas
The CBS operates a Social Statistics Database and an Economic Statistics Database. The information these databases contain is derived from a variety of sources, including business and household surveys, linked and integrated business-economic data sets, and - increasingly - official registers.
CBS studies examine both macro- and micro-economic indicators, with some studies forming part of larger strategic projects. These may focus on a range of topics including education, career, leisure, social life and healthcare. The CBS takes a special interest in how people combine various work-life opportunities throughout their lives.
The international role of the CBS
The majority of the work performed by the CBS has to do with meeting EU requests for statistical information. The agency also participates in European and international projects, workshops and conferences such as Cenex, and working groups like European data-sharing project SODI.
The Blaise System for computer-assisted survey processing, first developed by the CBS in the 1980s, has become an international standard for data collection in many countries.
CBS public access
Barring special circumstances which may require cooperation between Dutch and European institutions, Statistics Netherlands is obligated to keep all individual data confidential.
However, all statistics produced by the CBS are available for public access online via:
- press releases (with some studies translated into English).
- a web magazine which discusses statistics in the context of current events.
- StatLine, the official output database of the CBS.
Statistics Netherlands contact details
The CBS offers a special information service to help members of the public understand and obtain needed information from studies. Rather than calling a CBS office, users are asked to submit their questions using this online form. They will receive assistance via e-mail or telephone.
There are two CBS offices:
CBS office in The Hague
Henri Faasdreef 312, 2492 JP, The Hague
CBS office in Heerlen
Postbus 4481, 6401 CZ, Heerlen