Overview and recent developments

The Netherlands has a long-standing tradition of regulatory reform, with a strong emphasis on the reduction of burdens for business and citizens. This focus has largely remained in the centre of recent Better Regulation initiatives.

The Integraal Afwegingskader (IAK) combines existing requirements and instructions for ex ante impact assessment. While the core focus remains on measuring the costs of a regulation, the IAK has been gradually updated since 2015 by introducing assessments of the impact on innovation, SME’s, gender equality and developing countries. Periodic ex post evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of regulations, mandatory for all primary laws since 2001, now includes an evaluation of regulatory burden and is complemented by reviews of administrative burden and compliance costs in specific sectors.

In recent years, the Netherlands placed a strong focus on accessibility and transparency of the regulatory process. For this purpose, a digital calendar has been launched, allowing the public to track the legislative process. Public consultation through the central interactive website has been further promoted and is more frequently used to consult on draft proposals as well as on policy documents informing about the nature of the problem and possible solutions. SME’s can provide suggestions in the early stages of the development of a regulation as part of the recently introduced SME-Test.

Informing the public systematically in advance that a consultation is planned to take place could help to receive more input for public consultations. The Dutch RIA framework could be also further strengthened by extending the focus on regulatory burden towards a more systematic assessment of benefits and distributional effects of a regulation.

Institutional setup for regulatory oversight

Within the government, the Unit for Judicial Affairs and Better Regulation Policy in the Ministry of Justice and Security is responsible for scrutinizing the overall compliance with the RIA framework. The Unit for Regulatory Reform and ICT-policy in the Ministry of Economic Affairs coordinates the program for regulatory burden reduction and provides oversight on the quality of regulatory burden assessments. The Adviescollege Toetsing Regeldruk (ATR), located at arm’s length from the government, advices ministries on the quality of the individual burden assessments at the early stage of the development of a proposal and can recommend improving the assessment if it is deemed inadequate. After approval of the Cabinet, the Council of State issues a formal opinion on the overall legal quality of a legislative proposal.

Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance (iREG): Netherlands, 2018

Notes: The more regulatory practices as advocated in the OECD Recommendation on Regulatory Policy and Governance a country has implemented, the higher its iREG score. The indicators on stakeholder engagement and RIA for primary laws only cover those initiated by the executive (98% of all primary laws in the Netherlands).

Source: Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance Surveys 2014 and 2017,


Location of regulatory oversight functions: Netherlands

Regulatory oversight functions

Centre of government

Ministry of Finance, Economy or Treasury

Ministry of Justice

Other ministries

Non-departmental body


Office of the Attorney General

Supreme audit institution

Part of the judiciary

Quality control of…


Stakeholder engagement

Ex post evaluation

Identifying policy areas where regulation can be made more effective

Systematic improvement of regulatory policy

Co-ordination of regulatory policy

Guidance, advice and support

Scrutiny of legal quality

Notes: ⚫ indicates that a given regulatory oversight function is covered by at least one body in a particular location. Data present the situation as of 31 December 2017 and do not reflect changes that may have taken place in 2018.

Source: Survey questions on regulatory oversight bodies, Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance Survey 2017,

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